Fire chaplain: There’s hope in midst of tragedy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The fire in Boston that tragically took the lives of two veteran firefighters Wednesday was a stark reminder of the extreme dangers first responders face on the job every day.

Lt. Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy died after they were trapped in the basement while fighting a massive fire at a Beacon Street home.

Providence Fire Chaplain Fr. Robert Marciano said firefighters are well aware of the potential danger and have the proper training and equipment to handle it, but any situation can turn tragic in an instant.

“These are solid citizens, they become firefighters sometimes knowing they’ll have to sacrifice their life for someone else,” he said. “They do it willingly, it’s in their blood, many of them are descendents of firefighters, and they rush into dangerous situations knowing the risks are great.”

Fr. Marciano said spirituality and prayer can play a big factor in firefighters’ line of work, especially when tragedy hits. He described the importance of being there for firefighters and “assuring them that there is hope in the midst of tragedy.”

He related the selfless acts of Walsh and Kennedy to the firefighters at the Station nightclub fire 11 years ago, to which he was a first responder.

“That was a raging inferno, and I witnessed first hand the folks going into that scene, not thinking one second of even taking off their Scott air packs, just to get at the victims as fast as they could,” Fr. Marciano added.

He said tragedies like the one in Boston affect every firefighter across the country and their families.

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