Tragedy struck Boston's Back Bay on Wednesday as a fire in the basement of one of the neighborhood's characteristic brownstones, fueled by high winds, turned into a nine-alarm blaze that took the lives of two firefighters and left more than a dozen others injured.
The fire struck a four-story building just a few houses down from the home of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Brady, his wife Gisele Bundchen and their daughter were at home when the fire began. Though their building was not affected at the time, the family retreated to a friend's house.
Clearly closely affected by the horrific event – both physically and emotionally – that took the lives of firefighters Michael R. Kennedy and Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh, Brady called into WEEI's Dennis & Callahan program this morning to express his thoughts and condolences.
"I can't express my gratitude and thanks enough to all the first responders and the people that were there fighting that fire all night last night," Brady said, shortly after driving past the scene of the fire on his way to work at Gillette Stadium. "I had a firsthand view of all the action and was blown away by the bravery and the teamwork that they really displayed.
"I've lived in the Back Bay for a long time and that was one of the scarier days. I feel so badly for the families of the two fire fighters that were lost and obviously all the men that were associated with fighting that fire yesterday losing one of their close friends. We as athletes think we're heroes, but when you witness seeing what I saw yesterday you realize who the real heroes are in this world. That's the people who work hard to protect our lives and protect our safety and our freedoms in America, and certainly the firefighters and Boston Police and the State Troopers.
"I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Brady went on to describe what he saw from his home which he said was about four doors down from the wind-driven flames.
"Our lives were never in jeopardy at all, thanks to those men, brave men, who were there fighting that fire for us," Brady said. "But that was a very intense day of weather and wind and you just can't imagine all those things that really happened and how quickly things can get out of control. I have such a newfound respect for nature and what it's all about and under those conditions for those men to watch them try to put out the fire in freezing conditions and all the different elements they had to deal with. There is no way to prepare for things like that. Those guys gave everything they had and a few of them paid the ultimate price. My respect and sincerity and love of admiration of what they do is at … it's hard to put into words."
Click here to listen to the entire interview with Tom Brady on WEEI.