Hydrogen Safety Panel Member Acknowledged - Boston Fire Department

The Fire Commissioner and members of the Boston Fire Department wish to acknowledge Professor Robert (Bob) Zalosh for his generous and unselfish work on behalf of Boston firefighters and the citizens of Boston. In recent years, Professor Zalosh has been an invaluable resource for this Department. His personal contributions and referrals to other technical experts have been immensely helpful in assisting the Boston Fire Department develop positions and policies on many issues including the transportation of alternative fueled vehicles through the tunnel system, the transportation of ethanol by rail within the city limits and the fire safety concerns associated with the green initiatives in building construction. After the tragic Beacon Street fire of March 2013 where the Department lost two members, Professor Zalosh volunteered, without hesitation, to participate as a member and technical advisor to the Board of Inquiry. It was apparent that the tragic deaths of Fire Lieutenant Walsh and Firefighter Kennedy touched him deeply and that he felt the need to help prevent such a tragedy from happening to any other firefighters in the future. For eighteen months he traveled to Boston, often at inconvenient times and at his own expense, to help The Board uncover the tragic circumstances of the firefighters' deaths. His vast experience and expertise were critical in helping the Board understand the more complex issues of fire development and in facilitating and summarizing the Worcester Polytechnic institute's test results on fire hose radiant heat exposure.

Professor Zalosh also contributed as a volunteer member of a blue ribbon panel of experts who acted on behalf of the Boston Fire Department during the post fire investigation of the Scotia Street substation fire of March 2012. His efforts, in conjunction with other panelists, were critical in gaining voluntary compliance from the utility company based in large part on the reputations and hard work of the individual panel members. At the urging of this panel a third party audit was performed. The utility company committed to repairing all of the identified deficiencies, and to upgrading the power generation and life safety systems. These improvements will minimize the probability of firefighters having to enter these facilities to extinguish a fire. Suppression system improvements are currently underway and expected to be completed in 2018. Also substations will be upgraded to ensure more redundancy to minimize large scale power outages like the one experienced in the Back Bay in 2012.

Professor Bob Zalosh is a true friend of the Boston Fire Department. We can never repay him for his generous donation of time and expertise; we can only thank him for caring for us, our families and the citizens of the City of Boston. Thank you, Bob.