The Boston Globe reported that two unnamed high-ranking public safety officials confirmed two veteran firefighters died of their injuries. Boston fire and police officials and the mayor's office did not immediately return calls to confirm any deaths.
Boston EMS spokesman Lt. Chris Stratton said 10 other firefighters and a paramedic were taken to hospitals with less serious injuries.
The four-alarm fire started at about 9 p.m. in the Tai-Ho Mandarin and Cantonese restaurant and spread to an adjoining building in a one-story row of yellow-brick storefronts, where at least three other stores were damaged. The fire was put out within about an hour.
Fire Chief Kevin MacCurtain said the most seriously injured were members of the first crew that responded to the fire. They were trapped after they became disoriented in heavy smoke.
"When they arrived they had heavy fire in the Thai restaurant with heavy smoke conditions on the block," MacCurtain said. "They advanced their lines into the store, and they became trapped and they were disoriented and they couldn't find their way out."
"We're doing a full investigation as to why that happened," he told the Globe.
He said officials do not believe the restaurant was open when the fire broke out.
One witness who works at a restaurant across the street said the fire spread quickly.
"We just started hearing sirens we saw flames coming out of the roof of the Tai Ho, then flames started bursting out everywhere," Bryan Strickland, 18, told The Boston Globe.
"I never saw anything like it. It happened real fast. It seemed like they had everything under control. That's when we saw the firefighters coming out (on stretchers)."