Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser, who recently blasted a departmental probe into the 2007 deaths of two firefighters as "incomplete," will formally request the dead jakes' autopsy and toxicology reports and may reopen the investigation, officials said.
The move came after Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley closed his probe without criminal charges and announced he would give fire officials the medical examiner's reports for Paul Cahill and Warren Payne, who died in the Aug. 29, 2007, blaze at West Roxbury's Tai Ho restaurant.
Sources briefed on the reports have told the Herald they show Cahill had a blood-alcohol level of .27 and that Payne had traces of cocaine in his system.
A board of inquiry made up of firefighters released a report last month that determined the two firefighters were not impaired, but the panel never reviewed the autopsy or toxicology reports.
"The Boston Fire Department is going to formally request from District Attorney Conley his investigative file into the West Roxbury fire," BFD spokesman Steve MacDonald said. "The commissioner and his command staff will review the file and then make a determination on how to proceed."
Union officials called on Fraser to "publicily apologize to the families for the needless anguish they have been forced to endure due to his ignorant accusations."
"Firefighters Cahill and Payne did what firefighters do; they gave their lives to save the lives and property of others," the union said.
In a statement, Conley said: "The question of the presence of alcohol and/or other intoxicating substances was considered along with all other evidence and in no way changes our determination that there are no criminal charges to attach to the deaths of these firefighters. Firefighters Warren Payne and Paul Cahill went into a dangerous fire ... Nothing in our investigation has produced any evidence that diminishes the magnitude of their sacrifice or the heroism of their actions."
Republished with permission of The Boston Herald.