January 9th, 2009
By Donovan Slack, Maria Cramer, and Milton Valencia, Globe Staff
One firefighter was killed and another was seriously injured when a Boston Fire Department ladder truck hurtled down a hill and crashed into a building Friday on Huntington Avenue in the city's Mission Hill neighborhood, city and fire officials said. Three children were taken to the hospital with minor injuries when the truck hit the room where they were participating in an after-school program.
Fire Lieutenant Kevin M. Kelley, 52, of Quincy, a 30-year veteran of the force, was killed in the crash, said Steve MacDonald, a fire department spokesman.
The truck was carrying Kelley and three other firefighters back from a routine medical call when it went down Parker Hill Road, rumbled through the intersection with Huntington Avenue, smashed into two parked cars, and struck the building, said MacDonald. Kelley was riding in the front passenger seat when the truck rammed the building at 835 Huntington Ave. at around 2:32 p.m.
One seriously injured firefighter was taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital, said Jennifer Mehigan, a spokeswoman for Boston EMS. Two other firefighters who were riding in the truck were treated for minor injuries and were in good condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said hospital spokeswoman Jaime Lyons. Five other people who witnessed the crash were taken to the hospital with emotional distress, said Mehigan.
Kelley, who had three adult daughters, was given a citation in 1997 for his work in an Oct. 26, 1996 fire in Roxbury, MacDonald said. Edward A. Kelly, president of Local 718 of the International Association of Firefighters, said Kelley was "a true veteran who served the city with distinction."
"Many questions remain as to why this horrific accident happened," he said. "Tonight we ask the people of Boston to stand with us as you always have. Pray for the Kelley family. Pray for three firefighters who are in the hospital right now, for the other people who were hurt today."
Officials refused to speculate on the cause of the accident. "We won't be commenting on the accident or vehicle. ... The cause of the accident will be investigated by the Boston Police Department," MacDonald said.
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Rest in peace, Lieutenant Kelly.