Boston Lieutenant Killed After Ladder Truck Smashes into High-Rise Building

A Boston firefighter died today after the ladder truck he was riding in crashed into a high-rise building on Huntington Avenue, a police official tells the Herald.

Two other firefighters are hurt, one with serious injuries to his lower extremities, and two children were also injured in the 2:30 p.m. crash in Mission Hill, authorities say.

The firefighter who died, who was in the passenger seat of the ladder truck, is an officer and was "a hard-charging, good guy," a firefighter tells the Herald. The firefighter killed in the crash has been identified as Kevin M. Kelley, 52, a 30-year veteran of the force.

The Boston Fire Department, Ladder 26, truck was wedged deep into a high-rise building hours after the crash.

Firefighters formed a solemn line outside the building late this afternoon as Kelley's body was carried out to an ambulance. Every firefighter held their helmet over their hearts as the body passed.

An eyewitness said the truck came down the hill on Parker Hill Avenue, and slammed into a library in the building, sending kids inside running for their lives.

"The truck went into the building door and I saw kids running out with blood on their faces," said Alex Dinh, 23, who came running to the scene from a friend's house after hearing a loud boom.

"The driver was still in the cab and the windshield was smashed," said Dinh. "I tried to help, but a police officer told me to get out."

Sources tell the Herald the ladder truck came down the hill and slammed into another truck, and both vehicles slammed into the building at 835 Huntington Ave.

Extra police and emergency medical units have been called to the scene.

The victims have been sent to Beth Israel Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The truck slammed into the Powers Library and Learning Center at the base of the Mission Main residential building. Traffic and MBTA service has been stopped all over the area.

Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the truck apparently barreled down Parker Hill Avenue, went through the intersection at Huntington Avenue and slammed into the building.

A preliminary investigation reveals no skid marks at the scene of the crash, according to a source, leading investigators to believe there may have been a problem with the brakes. There appear to be skid marks, however, higher up the hill where the ladder track was traveling.

The crash has also left 124 residents of the high-rise homeless. The power to the building has also been knocked out.

The accident closed part of Huntington Avenue, a major thoroughfare near Northeastern University and several of the city's major medical centers.

The truck struck several cars and a brick wall before becoming lodged in the building. A vehicle from the medical examiner's office and ambulances were on the scene.

The tall red brick structure is owned by the nonprofit Roxbury Tenants of Harvard, a housing and human service organization that was founded by residents of the neighborhood in 1969.

Republished with permission of The Boston Herald.

Funeral Arrangements

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, January 13 at Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock St., Quincy, MA.

Funeral services will be held the following day at 10 a.m. at St Annes Church, 757 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA.

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