UPDATED: Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira resigns. Read resignation letter citing ‘baseless attacks by the Deputy Chiefs’.

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Chief Abraira threaten to sue deputy chiefs

 Below is the resignation letter from Boston Fire Department Chief Steve E. Abraira:

Dear Mayor Menino and Commissioner Fraser: 

            Please accept this letter as my formal letter of resignation.  While I have privately informed both of you of my intention to resign as Chief of the Boston Fire Department effective June 7, 2013, I want to emphasize my sincere and everlasting appreciation to each of you for the courage you showed appointing me Chief even though I came from outside the City of Boston Fire Department.  I also want to thank you for the support and encouragement you have each given me throughout my tenure as Chief.  Both of you, on countless occasions, have resisted both private and public efforts to undermine my authority and to compromise my ability to carry out the mission you each made clear to me from the outset.  That mission was to modernize the Boston Fire Department to better carry out its duty to serve and protect the lives and property of the citizens of Boston while simultaneously having due regard for the lives and safety of the members of the Department.  I believe it fair to say that 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.  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.  As you know, while I remained committed to our mission, and have greatly appreciated your support, the baseless attacks by the Deputy Chiefs, especially their actions of making this a matter of public debate by leaking their letter of April 26th to the press, has made it impossible for me to continue to do my job.  The changes we have implemented, and those that are left, require the active support of the Deputy Chiefs; we cannot do it alone and, especially, I cannot do my job when their primary focus is on attacking me personally and misrepresenting my actions and our mission. 

As of close of business, Friday, June 7, 2013, my personal effort to improve and modernize the Boston Fire Department will be over. 

There is nothing in this life or in any profession, particularly in the fire service, that is constant. Instead, technology and advances in science mean that traditions of the fire service at a subsequent time must always be constantly reevaluated and changed if necessary in light of the present.  I believe I did my best to promote policies within the Boston Fire Department that safeguard the lives and safety of both firefighters and the citizens of this wonderful city. I enjoyed the support of a great Mayor and Fire Commissioner and I did my very best to make and support the changes I thought were necessary. 

I wish each of you, the City and the Department nothing but future success.  Thank you.                                                                                               


Steve Abraira, M.A., CFO, MIFireE

Chief of Department

Boston Fire Department

Andrew Ryan, The Boston Globe via Boston.com:

Boston Fire Chief of Department Steve E. Abraira resigned Monday after less than two years on the job following a clash with his command staff over his management style and handling of the Boston Marathon bombings, officials said.

Abraira had been the first chief in the history of the Boston Fire Department hired from outside of its own union. In recent weeks, Abraira came under attack from his 13 deputy chiefs, who have all risen through the department’s ranks.

The deputy chiefs sent a letter to Mayor Thomas M. Menino in late April accusing Abraira of failing to show leadership after the bombings because he did not take control of the scene and left it in the hand of law enforcement.

Dave Wedge, Boston Herald:

“Chief Abraira is resigning effective Friday,” Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser said this morning.

Abraira has come under fire from his underlings after he refused to take charge at the Boston Marathon bombing scene. As first reported by the Herald, 13 deputy chiefs signed a letter in April blasting Abraira for not taking command at the April 15 bombing, as well as at other major fires.


In a letter sent to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino last month, the deputies wrote that Chief Abraira showed no leadership following the Boston Marathon bombings and acted more like a spectator than a fire chief, reports the newspaper.

Abraira denied the claims and his attorney says they are prepared to file a suit and says using the bombing as a platform to oust the chief is “outrageous.”

Abraira was hired on Dec. 5, 2011.

Commissioner Roderick Fraser has appointed Chief of Operations John Hasson, a 40-year veteran, as the acting Chief of Department.

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