(WPRI) – Like many husbands and fathers, Boston Fire Department Lt. Edward Walsh adored his wife and children and enjoyed days at the basketball court watching his son’s team play.
Unlike many husbands and fathers, though, he also loved protecting his community by rushing into burning buildings.
According to his friends, Walsh, a department veteran of nearly a decade, was always one of the first crew members to enter a burning building. That was true Wednesday night, when he responded to a massive nine-alarm fire that was consuming a Beacon Street home in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
Walsh, along with firefighter Michael Kennedy, became trapped in the basement and ultimately lost their lives.
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Lt. Walsh was raised in a firefighting family. His late father, and two of his late uncles, all served on the Watertown Fire Department. Many Watertown veterans said they could remember a time when a much-younger Walsh would spend his time hanging out in the Watertown Fire House, waiting for his dad’s shift to end.
“It affects a lot of the people here because some of them grew up with Eddie, went to school with him,” Watertown Fire Chief Mario Orangio said. “Some of the guys here worked with his father.”
“[He’s] just a real good guy,” Orangio continued. “He’s the kind of guy that, if I had a son, I hope he’d turn out like Eddie.”
Although his work was his passion, Lt. Walsh – said Boston Mayor Martin Walsh – was also a “quintessential family man.” Walsh’s friend said he last saw him a few days before the tragic fire, playing basketball with his young son’s team.
“A lot of us… saw him Sunday in the best possible moment,” former Boston City Councilor John Tobin said. “You know, running up and down the court… trying to keep up with his kid.”
Walsh leaves behind his wife and three children under the age of 10.