John Walsh, owner of Elizabeth Grady Co. spas, said he was in the shower of his third-floor condo when he heard fire alarms sounding. After jumping out and grabbing a pair of sweats, he headed downstairs to check the building's fire panel only to be met almost immediately by responding jakes.
"It seemed like they were there in seconds," Walsh said by phone from his office. "It was three guys who came right in without any hesitation, any concern for their own safety and any idea what they were walking into. The speed and their efficiency with the way they responded, and having ladders on the roof and containing that fire, it's commendable. And that would be an understatement."
The blaze, which broke out about 9:18 a.m. in the three-unit Back Bay building containing multimillion-dollar condos, was caused by a radiant heating system that shorted out in the fourth-floor ceiling, Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.
"The fire was in the fourth and fifth floors and it got into the walls," MacDonald said. "The fourth and fifth floors received extensive damage."
No one was injured, he said.
With flames and smoke threatening to envelope them, two of the first responders, Boston firefighters Brian Mullis and Daniel Corey of Ladder 24, dove through a circular window after yelling from the roof for the aerial ladder to reposition itself.
Unable to wait, Corey smashed out the window and plunged in, followed by Mullis, MacDonald said.
"The conditions were worsening on the roof. They had to get out of there," MacDonald said.
Neither jake was injured and have remained on duty.
MacDonald noted that an abutting structure is undergoing renovation, but had nothing to do with the fire.
Walsh, the only resident home at the time, said he was told his unit was "totally destroyed," just three years after buying it and spending the last two renovating it. While it's "disappointing," Walsh said he was thankful that no one was hurt, including the jakes that rushed into the building.
"The firefighters in the city of Boston have to be the best in the country," he said. "As far as me being at work, for me to go ahead and be sitting at my desk, I don't think it's difficult for me to be doing that given what they did."
Written by Boston Herald