Boston Fire Chief Steve Abrair Criticized For Handling of Marathon Bombings

The top fire official in Boston is facing some heat for his response to the Boston Marathon bombings last month.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino received a letter from 13 of the city's 14 deputy fire chiefs expressing that they had no confidence in city Fire Chief Steve Abraira. He took over the position in 2011. Despite the letter, Menino expressed confidence in Abraira.

"I'm the mayor of Boston and he has a future as long as I am here," Menino said. He is in the final year of his term and has announced he will not be seeking re-election.

In their letter, the deputy fire chiefs said that Abraira failed to assume command of the scene where the bombings took place and strongly criticized his inaction. “His justification for failing to take action is indefensible,” the letter said. Abraira has maintained that the scene was somewhat under control by the time he arrived.

After news of the letter leaked out, Abraira defended himself in an interview, Reuters reported.

“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.”

Three people were killed and 264 others injured when the two pressure cooker bombs were detonated.

Mayor Menino said that tensions within the department were natural.

"The fire chief is relatively new on the job, he does come from another fire department, he's an outsider and on a regular basis, when an outsider comes to the fire department you have issues," Menino said. "There is always that little tension."

Sources: Reuters, The Boston Globe


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