BOSTON -- The Bruins players, coaching staff and management were practicing at TD Garden with heavy hearts on Thursday afternoon after watching the nine alarm fire on Beacon Street unfold yesterday, a fire that ultimately took the lives of two true Boston heroes, 43-year-old Lt. Ed Walsh and 33-year-old firefighter Michael Kennedy.
The Bruins organization has long had a connection with the Boston fire and police departments, but that bond was strengthened over the last year following the Boston Marathon bombings. The Bruins celebrated first responders such as the firefighters based out of the Boylston Street firehouse in that first game back against the Buffalo Sabres last April.
Bruins coach Claude Julien -- along with many of the players -- said he was deeply saddened by what he watched on television last night.
“I’m like everybody else. I’m watching on TV as it’s unfolding,” said Julien. “It’s just sad to see those kinds of things happen, especially when people are trying to save other people’s lives. We all know that when they take those jobs that there’s risk, but it really touches the city.
“This city is pretty sensitive when it comes to that stuff, and very supportive of all those situations. We come in this morning, and guys are talking to other guys, and some of the players didn’t live too far away from that area. My heart goes out to the families. We’re a group here that really rallies around the city, and we’re going to try and make this city feel good as we can with our play, and let them know that our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”
The tragic fire was first reported around 3 p.m. as 30-50 mph winds created a dangerous situation for an already hazardous fire. Reports indicate that both Walsh and Kennedy were trapped in the basement of the Beacon Street brownstone after an explosion separated them from the rest of their crew.