Two Firefighters Reportedly Killed Battling Nine-Alarm Beacon Street Fire [Updated]
Updated 6:45 p.m.: According to the Boston Globe, two Boston firefighters were killed while battling a massive nine-alarm fire at an apartment building on Beacon Street on Wednesday afternoon as heavy winds whipped around the smoke and flames, making their jobs that much more difficult.
The Boston Fire Department did not immediately confirm the deaths of the first responders, but they abruptly stopped updating from the scene of the fire shortly after reports surfaced. “There are reasons why we stopped posting to Twitter. Will be explained later,” said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald. He said more information would be available later tonight, with 8 p.m. being the earliest another update would be expected.
Firefighters responded to the fatal blaze just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday as thick, black smoke from the fire could be seen billowing out from the complex located at 298 Beacon St., a four-story brick building in the Back Bay. MacDonald said the fire started in the basement and worked its way up the building toward the roof. The smoke could be seen from as far away as Cambridge.
As it intensified, first responders were ordered out of the building and all interior operations were put on hold. Once people were out of the apartment, firefighters worked on stopping the flames from spreading by blasting it with hoses from the outside of the building. Roughly 150 firefighters were called to the scene. Officials called the situation “unstable,” and said they were conducting checks to make sure all of their crews were accounted for.
As of 6 p.m., 18 people—all first responders—were reportedly taken to area hospitals while others were evaluated on the scene, according to officials from the Boston EMS. Police closed down Storrow Drive to help assist firefighters as they continued to fight the fire. Beacon Street was also closed from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue, Boston Police said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the Suffolk District Attorney’s office said prosecutors responded to the scene as part of their normal procedures.
Boston will continue to update this story as we learn more.