Boston FF's Family Wants Trucks Replaced

BOSTON --

The family of a Boston firefighter killed on duty says it's losing patience with city lawmakers.

NewsCenter 5's Janet Wu reported Friday that Kevin Kelley was the Boston firefighter killed when the brakes on his truck failed, sending it careening into a building in January. His family can't understand why the council won't consider a bill to have trucks replaced every 10 years.

Kelley's family said its grief is compounded by City Councilor Maureen Feeney's refusal to take up a bill before her government operation's committee.

"If Kevin had gone into a fire and died, tragic yes. Maybe there's some sense that's there. There's no sense in him dying because the brakes failed," Kelley's sister, Peggy Paulli, said.

Paulli said the ladder truck, which was 15 years old when the brakes failed and crashed into the building, should not have been on the road. City Councilor John Tobin filed a bill in June mandating that all fire trucks be replaced every 10 years.

"Was Kevin's death not enough for people to want to change things to make it better? Not just for Kevin or firefighters but for all of the people in the city of Boston?" Paulli asked.

"(In) Lt. Kelley's last seconds of life, he leaned on that air horn and through his actions by a sheer act of God there were no other pedestrians, trolley, or bus or oil truck down the end of the that street," Tobin said.

"It's not just an issue of money. It's lives and public safety," Paulli said. "What if somebody had been sitting in that van that got sideswiped? What if a child in that day-care center had been hurt? How do you measure that in dollars and cents?"

Feeney did not return NewsCenter 5's telephone calls, but she has agreed to hold a marathon hearing on Dec. 14 on remaining bills before her committee. There is no guarantee this bill will be included.

"Let's put the figures on the table so that everybody can weigh in. Let the public come in and weigh in," Tobin said.

In a statement received late Friday, Feeney said, "Councilor Tobin has not communicated his intention to have a hearing on fire apparatus to me or my staff. The safety and security of our firefighters is a matter that I take seriously and personally. I would welcome the opportunity to conduct a public dialogue on making our fire equipment safer at any time and at any place."

 

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