Tom Brady recounts firsthand view of Back Bay fire on D&C: ‘It was just a tough day’
|03.27.14 at 9:29 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady watched Wednesday’s horrific Back Bay fire from his nearby home, and he checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to talk about his experience and his respect for the first-responders, especially the two firefighters who lost their lives battling the blaze. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
‘ Boston Herald (@bostonherald) March 27, 2014
“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 via phone while driving to Gillette Stadium. “I had a firsthand view of all the action and was just 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 firefighters 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 that we’re heroes, but when you witness firsthand what I saw yesterday, you realize who the real heroes are in this world, and that’s the people that work hard to protect our lives and protect our safety, our freedoms in America. Certainly the firefighters and Boston Police and the state troopers.
“I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Brady said his wife, Gisele Bundchen, initially alerted him to the fire, and he quickly realized the seriousness of the situation.
“I was in my bedroom. I’m about four doors down from [the building that was on fire],” he explained. “My wife and my daughter were in the house. My wife [said], ‘Look outside, there’s a fire.’ I looked out the front of our house and could see the flames, and then kind of went back to my room and then went back about two minutes later and just saw it growing. At that point I had gone to the back part of the house, from my deck, and could see kind of what they were up against. At that point all the fire engines were coming down the street. I was watching for obviously a long time. At one point I saw a pretty big explosion of flames, and a lot of the firemen were coming out of the building. That’s when I really got nervous. I felt so badly for them.
“Our lives were never in jeopardy at all thanks to those men, brave men who were there fighting that fire for us. That was a very intense day of weather and wind. You just can’t imagine all those things that really happened and how quickly those 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’s no way to prepare for things like that. They gave everything they had, and a few of them paid the ultimate price.
“My respect and sincerity and love and admiration of what they do — it’s hard to put it into words.”
Brady said he watched the fire for a little while before deciding to leave his home for a safer situation.
“Once I saw all the firefighters getting out of the house, I told my wife, ‘We’ve got to go.’ We went just down the street to our friends’ house,” he said, adding that they then watched the news for updates before returning around 7:30 p.m. “I came back a few hours later just to kind of see what was going on. It was just a tough scene. It was just a tough day.”
An emotional Brady said he feels for the firefighters who lost two comrades, Michael Kennedy and Lt. Edward Walsh.
“You just think of how strong an event that is when you realize that a lot of your things, your house could just be gone. And you’ve got to think about, obviously our lives is what’s most important. And the firemen who risk their lives. That’s who I just can’t pay enough respect toward,” he said.
“I drive by the fire station in the Back Bay on Hereford and Boylston. I’ve driven by that fire station thousands of times in all my years in the Back Bay. That was the group that was closest to the action and were the first ones into the building. I can’t obviously thank them enough and understand the tragedy that that fire station’s gone through.”
Added Brady: “Those firemen, they’re in my thoughts and prayers all day, and my family. Without them, it could have been a very tragic day for not only the houses in the neighborhood and the lives of people, but they kept everybody safe. That’s really where I can’t thank them enough.”