Yesterday, I watched from my office window in Cambridge the horror that was taking place just across the river with that sinking feeling that what I was witnessing was going to end horribly. I heard the voices on the scanner, saw the MAYDAY tweets, and watched the flames and smoke violently swirl around that building as the emergency vehicles ascended and ladders extended as they tried so desperately to get it under control.
It was hard to watch knowing what was probably happening inside that building.
When I got home, I turned on the news. My three young kids were sitting there and knew something was wrong. We all sat there for a few moments transfixed on that fire and the words of the strangers describing to us what was happening. Fire, explosion, MAYDAY, firefighters trapped, no radio response, smoke, Engine 33.
“What happened Daddy?” my daughter asked me.
“There was a fire and some firemen got hurt” I told her.
Her face turned concerned; her eyes opened wide.
“Are there people in there?”
“Not any more” I assured her.
My 5 year old son looked at me and said, “Why did the firemen go in there?”
“To make sure all the people got out safely.”
“Is that how the firemen got hurt?”
“Did they die?” he asked with a slight hesitation.
“Yes, they did.”
And with that, my son locked eyes with me and said confidently, “He was a really very brave man.”
Yes they were Connor. Yes they were…
Don’t take anything for granted. Hug your kids. You just never know what the next 10 minutes may bring.
Thank you firefighters Michael R. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh for your bravery and heroism. Our hearts and gratitude are with you forever.