Boston Fire Chief Steve E. Abraira quits amid feud

June 3, 2013 at 4:21 PM
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BOSTON, June 3 (UPI) -- Boston's fire chief, the department's top uniformed officer, quit Monday amid an ongoing feud with 13 deputies passed over when he was hired.

Fire Chief Steve E. Abraira informed Boston Mayor Thomas E. Menino and Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser his tenure with the Boston Fire Department would end Friday after months of back-and-forth between Abraira and his subordinates, The Boston Globe reported.

Abraira was the first fire chief in Boston history to be hired from outside the department and was picked specifically to modernize the department, an effort that's been met with resistance.

"Your selection of me as chief never had the support of a number of members of the department who preferred that the chief be selected from within the ranks of the department itself," Abraira said in a letter explaining his resignation. "I think it is also fair to say that unfortunately a vocal and aggressive minority of the members of the department did not support our efforts."

The 13 deputy chiefs wrote in a letter to Menino subsequently leaked to the media that Abraira failed to take control of the Boston Marathon bombing scene, instead leaving the job to law enforcement. Additionally, while at the scene of other major fires, Abraira has "acted as a spectator" rather than take charge. Previous fire chiefs would have done this as a matter of course, the letter stated.

Abraira defended his job performance, saying it was the fire chief's option to overtake a scene but that he didn't see the need to step in when subordinates had a situation under control.

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