Boston Fire Chief accused of incompetence in wake of marathon bombing

Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira has been condemned by 13 out of 14 of his deputies, who are calling for his immediate termination for his “indefensible” leadership during the Boston Marathon bombings.

In a letter of “no confidence” sent to Boston Mayor Thomas
Menino, the 13 deputies accuse their chief of failing to take
command of the Boyston Street bombing site, leaving the task fully
to his inferiors while he stood idly by.

The deputies also allege that in another instance where
they were responding to a six-alarm fire, they witnessed their boss
standing on a rooftop and watching. Instead of directing the
response to the fire, the chief was allegedly taking photos of
himself with flames in the background for “his
scrapbook”

“His justification for failing to take action is
indefensible,”
the deputies wrote in the April 26 letter, which
the Boston Globe obtained. “…You can unequivocally consider this
letter a vote of no confidence in Chief Abraira.”

Runners continue to run towards the finish line of the Boston Marathon as an explosion erupts near the finish line of the race in this photo exclusively licensed to Reuters by photographer Dan Lampariello after he took the photo in Boston, Massachusetts, April 15, 2013 (Reuters / Dan Lampariello)

The deputy chiefs argue that after the Boston Marathon attack,
Abraira uselessly stood by as a spectator while the rest of the
fire crew was “heavily involved” in the scene, searching the area
for suspicious packages, additional explosives, and checking
buildings for structural damage.

The deputies claim that Abraira frequently “shields himself
from immediate accountability while setting the stage for
undermining the confidence and authority of his command staff.
While acknowledging his ultimate accountability for department
operations, he avoids on-the-scene responsibility.”

A woman embraces a Boston Firefighter shortly before a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings marking a week to the day of the bombings at a memorial on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts April 22, 2013 (Reuters / /Jessica Rinaldi)

In an interview with the Globe, Abraira denied the allegations,
claiming he responded appropriately at the bombing sites. He said
that chiefs are not required to take command of a scene, according
to information he obtained from other big city fire
departments.

“When I got there I was comfortable with what was going
on,”
he said. “…The nationally accepted practice is that you
only take command [as chief] if there’s something going wrong or if
you can strengthen the command position or if it’s overwhelming for
the incident commander, and none of those things were in fact
happening.”

Abraira also denied having ever taken pictures of himself while
neglecting his duties, calling the accusation “just crazy”.
He contended that his deputies are protesting his leadership
because he came from outside the department. Abraira previously led
the Dallas fire department and served as an assistant fire chief in
Miami.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said she has “full confidence in
[Fire] Commissioner [Roderick] Fraser to do what’s best for the
department.”
Neither Fraser nor the mayor’s office publicly
commented on the letter sent by the 13 fire chief deputies.

This article originally appeared on : RT