ALBANY N.Y. - Firefighters from the Capital District are meeting to board a bus for Watertown, Massachusetts to pay respects to fallen firefighter Lieutenant Edward Walsh.
The 43-year-old died alongside his colleague, firefighter Michael Kennedy, 33, last week as they fought a nine-alarm apartment fire. They were both trapped at a Back Bay area in a brownstone building.
On Tuesday, thousands of firefighters across the country showed their support for the Walsh family at his wake. The funeral will be held Wednesday morning at St. Patrick's Church in Watertown, where Walsh grew up.
While more than 100 local firefighters are in Boston Wednesday, even more Albany firefighters from the South End firehouse will be standing with their brothers Thursday as this tragedy hits close to home.
"We all face the same risk, we all do the same job. This profession is about supporting our brothers. When they have a tragedy like this we want to be there for our brother," said Albany Firefighters Association Union President Bob Powers.
Powers explains that this week, it is their turn to be there for their brothers.
"In 2007 we had a line of duty death, firefighter Ted Abriel. Boston firefighters came here for us. They brought their pipe and drum band. So, they were here for us so that's what we're doing," he explained.
Abriel's older brother, now Fire Chief Warren Abriel, said his brother and the firefighters went up six flights of stairs to put out a fire in an apartment building. It was after the fire was out, something went wrong.
"All of a sudden one of the squad guys got on the radio and everyone was screaming, so I thought that didn't sound good. I ran right now. It was Ted. I didn't hear his voice on the radio," said Chief Abriel.
Firefighter Abriel died of a heart attack.
"It's difficult to get over that. You're always thinking about the family member," continued Abriel.
Chief Abriel said he understands what the families are going through and that they'll always remember the amount of support from the firefighting community.
"Firefighters will travel a great distance to show their respects to other firefighters. We just feel for the Boston firefighters and the citizens of Boston. It's a sad day," he said.
Local Firefighters left the Home Depot on Central Avenue in Albany at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday for Walsh's funeral. The firefighters will be coming back Wednesday night. Firefighters at the South End will be paying their respects Thursday as firefighter Kennedy will be laid to rest.
Walsh leaves behind his wife and three children. He will be buried next to his father, who was also a Watertown firefighter.
Kennedy's wake will be held on Wednesday as well. His funeral will be held Thursday in Boston.
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