Retired Boston Firefighter Recalls Hotel Vendome Tragedy

Retired Boston firefighter Charles Seaboyer once went out of his way to avoid Back Bay and the haunting memory of recovering the body of his pal and fellow jake Richard Magee, who was crushed to death with eight others in the collapse of the Hotel Vendome at Commonwealth Avenue and Dartmouth Street - a nightmare Seaboyer said he had dreamed about.

FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation: Remembering the Worst Firefighting Tragedy in Boston’s History

'I wanted to dig out guys who were still alive,' Seaboyer, 68, told the Herald on the 40th anniversary of the Boston Fire Department's worst loss of firefighters' lives.

'The strangest thing of all is I woke up that morning and told my wife I had an awful dream about a bunch of firefighters being killed in Back Bay. I didn't tell anyone else that story for 25 years.'

Yesterday, Seaboyer, formerly with Engine 18 in Dorchester, made the 80-mile drive from his home in West Dennis to the Vendome memorial to meet for the very first time District Fire Chief Richard Magee Jr., who was a teen when his father died in five stories of pancaked rubble with eight other firefighters June 17, 1972, well after the four-alarm blaze had been put out.

'It was a little difficult - very emotional,' Seaboyer said. 'I said, 'Your father's looking down on you and he's proud.' He was happy to know that someone who knew his dad was responsible for recovering his body and treated his father with the respect he deserved.'

Also killed in the Vendome were firefighters Thomas W. Beckwith, Joseph E. Boucher, Charles E. Dolan, John E. Jameson, Paul J. Murphy and Joseph P. Saniuk and fire lieutenants Thomas J. Carroll and John E. Hanbury Jr. The disaster left eight women widowed and 25 children without dads on the eve of Father's Day.


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