Article originally appeared in Lowell Sun on October 6, 2016

BOSTON — The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to create a state commission to study welding and “hot works” regulation, leaving the legislation in need of a pro forma vote in each branch and the governor’s signature to become law.

Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn has championed the bill, telling lawmakers last year that such a commission could make changes that prevent fatal fires, like the March 26, 2014 Back Bay blaze that killed two firefighters.

“This is of particular importance to Mayor (Martin) Walsh and myself given that an investigation of a fire that took the lives of Lieutenant Edward J. Walsh, Jr., and Firefighter Michael Kennedy concluded that this fire was caused by nearby welding work that was done without a City permit,” Finn wrote in testimony last year. “We are hopeful that this commission can make recommendations that will prevent future tragedies.”

The bill (H 4455) would create…
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