Boston Fire Chief 'Failed' Marathon Test: Deputies

Department unanimous in 'no confidence' letter

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 15, 2013 11:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Boston Fire Department Chief Steve Abraira failed to take charge at the Boston Marathon bombing scene, and is hence unfit for the job, all 13 of the department's deputy chiefs have declared. In a letter to the mayor obtained by the Boston Herald , the deputies say Abraira became a "ghost fire chief" in the crisis. "At a time when the City of Boston needed every first responder to take decisive action, Chief Abraira failed to get involved in operational decision-making or show any leadership," they complain. "You can unequivocally consider this letter a vote of no confidence in Chief Abraira," the letter concludes.

Abraira, for his part, expressed bewilderment, saying there was "no reason" for him to step in during the disaster and that he's more of an administrator than an on-the-ground commander. "Quite honestly, I thought everything was going very well with the deputies at the scene," he says. The Herald notes that the former Dallas fire chief, who was Boston's first hire for the top slot from outside its own ranks, in 2012 changed a long-running policy that commanded the highest-ranking chief to take charge at incident scenes; he says the move put Boston in compliance with national standards.

An honor guard from area Fire Departments salutes as pallbearers carry the casket of a Boston Marathon bomb victim from her funeral in Medford, Mass., April 22, 2013.
An honor guard from area Fire Departments salutes as pallbearers carry the casket of a Boston Marathon bomb victim from her funeral in Medford, Mass., April 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Steve Abraira is seen in this official photo.
Steve Abraira is seen in this official photo.   (City of Boston)
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