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Thousands From Near and Far Pay Respects to Firefighters Killed in Boston Blaze

Thousands of firefighters from as far away as Australia poured into Boston today to remember two of their own killed in the line of duty.

Michael Kennedy, 33, a former Marine, and Lt. Edward Walsh Jr., 43, a married father of three, helped rescue the residents of a four-story brownstone apartment building on March 26 before getting trapped in the smoky basement.

Thirteen other firefighters were hurt in the blaze.

The fire service has always been a brotherhood, sisterhood and a big family, big extended family, said Capt. Derrick Bart, who traveled from Los Angeles to attend the funeral services today and Wednesday. So we come out to keep that going and show our respects.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick also paid his respects at Engine 33 and Ladder 15, the firehouse where Walsh and Kennedy were stationed. Today, a mountain of flowers were on display.

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady, who lived just doors away from the apartment building and witnessed the blaze, recently called into a local radio show to pay tribute to the fallen.

You realize who the real heroes are in the world, he said. And I just feel so badly for their families. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Both men will be posthumously awarded the citys Medal of Valor.