A federal investigation of the 2014 Back Bay fire that killed Lt. Ed Walsh of Watertown and firefighter Michael Kennedy placed part of the blame on lack of training and also insufficient staffing.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report also found that there was a delay in alerting the Boston Fire Department of the fire, ventilation of the fire by civilians and a lack of sprinklers and lack of fire hydrant on the rear of the building near the fire. See a the detailed report here from the WCVB Channel 5 website.
Among the 15 recommendations are:
- Fire command do an assessment of the risk before fully deploying firefighters
- Train for dealing with wind-driven fires
- Ensure for proper staffing for fighting a fire in a congested urban area
- Have checklist to follow in the event of a mayday event
- Integrate the latest firefighting research into the tactics used by the fire department
- Personnel should all wear a fire-fighting protective hood at all structure fires
- Consider requiring sprinkler systems in residential buildings
The report also has a detailed timeline of the fire that killed the two Boston firefighters.
Watertown honored Walsh with a funeral, which drew thousands of firefighters from around the country, and shutdown Main Street for a few days.