Thousands of mourners have gathered to remember a 33-year-old Boston firefighter and former Marine killed in an apartment blaze as a caring man whose selflessness went beyond his professional life.
Family members and friends recalled Michael Kennedy's humor, love and competitiveness Thursday and spoke of his volunteer work with burn victims and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
"He was a bone marrow donor and he led a group of firefighters to Rhode Island to donate blood to help a 6-year-old boy with leukemia," said Harold Schaitberger, firefighters' union president.
Fellow Southeastern Massachusetts firefighters talked about how much of a great guy Kennedy was.
"He was a great guy. A great, great, great, great, great guy. He was an ex-soldier and it's a tragedy that it had to happen the way it did," said Shawn Soderstrom of the Fall River Fire Department.
"The dangers that you could face on any call, you don't know what happens. The tone goes off and you just do your job. You don't second guess. You don't question," said Bruno DaSilva of the New Bedford Fire Department.
Firefighters from around the country lined the streets and bagpipers played as they did a day earlier for Lt. Edward Walsh, who died with Kennedy on March 26.
Boston leaders including Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Gov. Deval Patrick attended the service in the West Roxbury neighborhood where Kennedy grew up. The mayor said Kennedy's values and influence on others can bring hope to those who mourn him.
Kennedy was being buried in a cemetery plot dedicated to fallen firefighters.
NBC 10 contributed to this report.