New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady expressed his condolences over the loss of two Boston firefighters who were killed fighting a nine-alarm fire Wednesday in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood.
Brady, who lives in the area, was photographed near the scene of the blaze. He posted a message to Facebook on Wednesday and then spoke to WEEI Thursday morning about what he witnessed.
“I can’t express my gratitude and thanks enough to all the first-responders and the people that were there fighting that fire all night last night,” Brady told the station. “I had a firsthand view of all the action and was just blown away by the bravery and the teamwork that they really displayed. I’ve lived in the Back Bay for a long time, and that was one of the scarier days. I feel so badly for the families of the two firefighters that were lost. And obviously all the men that were associated with fighting that fire yesterday, losing one of their close friends.
“We as athletes think that we’re heroes, but when you witness firsthand what I saw yesterday, you realize who the real heroes are in this world, and that’s the people that work hard to protect our lives and protect our safety, our freedoms in America. Certainly the firefighters and Boston Police and the state troopers.
“I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Tom Brady watches as a 9 alarm fire rips through a home 2 doors down from his home at the 300 block of Beacon St. pic.twitter.com/paNrNKKS2L
Brady told WEEI that he lives four houses down from the four-story brick rowhouse involved in the inferno and that his wife, Gisele Bundchen, was the one who informed him of what was going on down the street. Brady said he could see the fire continuing to grow as fire engines closed in on the area and at one point saw “a pretty big explosion of flames.”
“Once I saw all the firefighters getting out of the house, I told my wife, ‘We’ve got to go.’ We went just down the street to our friends’ house,” Brady told WEEI. “I came back a few hours later just to kind of see what was going on. It was just a tough scene. It was just a tough day.”
Eventually, Brady learned that the fire had claimed the lives of Michael Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh.
“Our lives were never in jeopardy at all thanks to those men, brave men who were there fighting that fire for us,” Brady told WEEI. “That was a very intense day of weather and wind. You just can’t imagine all those things that really happened and how quickly those things can get out of control.
“I have such a newfound respect for nature and what it’s all about and under those conditions for those men to watch them try to put out the fire in freezing conditions and all the different elements they had to deal with. There’s no way to prepare for things like that. They gave everything they had, and a few of them paid the ultimate price.
“My respect and sincerity and love and admiration of what they do — it’s hard to put it into words.”
Other Boston-area sports figures, including some of Brady’s Patriots teammates, also took to social media to express their condolences over the loss.