Baker signs new law to better protect on-duty firefighters

The commission has until June of next year report back to state lawmakers

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker signed a new law Thursday with the goal of preventing deadly fires. The state will create an 11-member commission to study whether to regulate the welding and “hot works” industry.

“What you really want to do is put in place the structures, the mechanisms, the enforcement devices and all the rest to ensure that we don’t have this type of event occur again,” said Governor Baker.

This legislation was inspired by two Boston firefighters killed while on duty. Boston Fire Lieutenant Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy died while fighting a fire in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood in March 2014.

The investigation showed that the fire was preventable, and was caused by welding work that was done without a City permit. The State Fire Marshal told 22News, “In the event that somebody is operating outside of the parameters of the regulations that our penalties are appropriate for the actions that they take.”

68 firefighters were killed on the job last year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The commission has until June of next year report back to state lawmakers to determine whether the welding and “hot works” industry needs to be regulated.

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