Thursday, 4:30 PM
Judge lifts injunction on WHDH-TV
By John Ellement, Globe Staff
A state Appeals Court judge this afternoon lifted the preliminary injunction that barred WHDH-TV from broadcasting its version of the story on the autopsy results for two Boston firefighters who were killed in a late August fire.
"After consideration of the submissions of the parties, and after hearing, the preliminary injunction ... is vacated," Judge Andrew Grainger wrote in his decision, saying a lengthier explanation would follow later.
Ruling on a request by the city firefighters' union, a Suffolk Superior Court judge yesterday had barred the station from reporting on the autopsies.
But the Globe reported last night that sources familiar with the autopsies of the two men said that tests had found high levels of alcohol in one man's system and cocaine in the other's.
During the hearing this afternoon, the lawyer for the TV station said other media outlets had already published the story. The firefighter's union pressed for the injunction to be upheld. But the judge noted that it seemed to him "the universe has changed."
"It landed on my doorstep when I went to get the paper," the judge said of the story.
Paul J. Cahill, 55, of Scituate and Warren J. Payne, 53, of Newton were killed Aug. 29 in West Roxbury in what appeared at first to be a simple grease fire in the Tai Ho Mandarin and Cantonese Restaurant.
Firefighters did not know that flames had been smoldering for an hour above a drop ceiling, which exploded in a ball of fire.