A Massachusetts welding company has been cited for a series of violations that ultimately led to a massive blaze in Boston’s Back Bay that claimed the lives of two firefighters, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
The agency’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the March 26 fire at 298 Beacon St. was caused because Guiseppe Falcone and Daniele Falcone of the Malden-based D & J Ironworks allowed employees to install railings using arc welding equipment during high wind conditions.
Fire officials say the sparks ignited clapboards, causing the fire.
In addition, the agency says the company failed to protect employees against hazards and provide proper training associated with addressing chemical and respiratory hazards.
Boston firefighters Michael Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh lost their lives responding to the fire.
D & J Ironworks has been cited for 10 violations of workplace safety standards. It faces $58,000 in fines.
Jeff Erskine of OSHA says this could have all been avoided if the company made some simple changes.
“They should have looked at that piece of equipment that they were welding and connecting and they should have done it, in our opinion, off site in a safer location,” said Erskine.
Boston Fire said it will not comment on OSHA's action, adding the Beacon Street fire is still under investigation by the Suffolk District Attorney's Office, the fire department and Boston Police.
Kennedy's mother, Kathy Crosby-Bell, said OSHA's investigation is just one piece of the ongoing probe.
"Ultimately, I hope this reminds all Bostonians of the critical need to ensure the safety of our firefighters who put their lives on the line for each one of us every day," she said in a statement.