WPI to develop rare fire-proof hoses with grant

WORCESTER, Mass. ( -- It's been six months since two firefighters lost their lives while battling a Back Bay fire. The mother of Firefighter Michael Kennedy took the opportunity to announce a new foundation in honor of her son that will support Boston firefighters.

During a ceremony Friday at the Engine 33/Ladder 15 Firehouse in the Back Bay, The Last Call Foundation announced that Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will receive its first grant, totaling $75,000. The grant will be used to develop a fireproof attack hose, officials say.

Kennedy, 33, lost his life too soon, along with Lt. Edward Walsh, to the deadly Beacon Street blaze this past March. Firefighters faced many challenges that day, but one of them was a hose that burned through in the fire.

WPI has been researching the Fire Attack Hose Project for almost 15 years. They have a goal of developing solutions to issues that first responders face.

"The Last Call Foundation is committed to helping ensure that Boston's firefighters have access to the most innovative and effective tools to keep themselves and the community safe," said Kathy Crosby-Bell, president of the foundation and Kennedy's mother. "WPI engineers and scientists work tirelessly to advance the field of fire safety, and we look forward to supporting them in their work."