Fatal fire caused by welding operation working without permit - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Fatal Boston fire caused by welding operation working without permit

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Firefighters battled a 9-alarm blaze on Beacon Street in Boston March 26. Firefighters battled a 9-alarm blaze on Beacon Street in Boston March 26.
Welders were repairing and installing an iron handrail in the rear part of the building located at 296 Beacon St., which caused the fire at 298 Beacon St., pictured here. . Welders were repairing and installing an iron handrail in the rear part of the building located at 296 Beacon St., which caused the fire at 298 Beacon St., pictured here. .
Boston Firefighter Michael Kennedy (left) and Lt. Edward Walsh lost their lives while battling the blaze at 298 Beacon St. March 26. Boston Firefighter Michael Kennedy (left) and Lt. Edward Walsh lost their lives while battling the blaze at 298 Beacon St. March 26.
Firefighters battled a 9-alarm blaze on Beacon Street in Boston March 26. Firefighters battled a 9-alarm blaze on Beacon Street in Boston March 26.
BOSTON (WSHM) -

Acting Boston Fire Commissioner John Hasson confirmed at a press conference Friday that the fire that took the life of two Boston firefighters last week was caused by a welding operation that was working without a permit.

The welders were repairing and installing an iron handrail in the rear part of the building located at 296 Beacon St., an adjacent building to where the fire occurred, according to Edmond Zabin, the chief homicide prosecutor for the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.

"The primary goal of our investigation is to determine whether anyone bears any criminal responsibility in connection with the March 26 fire that occurred at 298 Beacon St.," Zabin said during the press conference in Boston Friday morning.

"There is much work that remains to be done, and because this is an active investigation we're not in a position to answer questions about specific facts, persons involved, or potential criminal culpability, as such information could negatively impact the integrity of the investigation," Zabin said.

Hasson indicated Sparks from the welding operation got underneath siding shingles and the high winds coming off the Charles River fanned the sparks and ignited the flames. That fire spread to a neighboring building and continued to burn upwards as it was fueled by the high winds until it consumed the entire building, Hasson said.

While it appears that the fire was set unintentionally, all Boston welding operations are required to have a permit and there was no record of any permit application for that operation, Hasson said.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said that he is confident the fire was not intentionally set. It is unclear if any criminal charges will be filed at this time.

Firefighter Michael Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh died after they became trapped in the basement of the Beacon Street apartment building March 26.

Both men were laid to rest earlier this week in emotional funeral services attended by thousands of firefighters and family members from across the state and nation.

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