Boston fire chief resigns after criticism over marathon bombing response

Boston bleeds

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira resigned Monday, saying he was doing so due to continued and unfounded criticism over his response to the bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and injured 264 more on April 15.

In the weeks after the bombings, 13 of Abraira’s deputy fire chiefs sent a letter to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, saying they had “no confidence” in the way the chief responded to the bombings. A copy of the letter was also leaked to the press.

“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,” Abraira said in a resignation letter issued Monday.

The April letter accused Abraira of failing to take an active role in the immediate response to the bombing. Abraira has defended his actions on that day, saying that he arrived at the scene of the bombing, but other staff already had the situation under control, so he didn’t assume command from them.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was also named as a suspect in the attack, but he was shot and killed by police as they tried to apprehend him after the bombing.

Also on Monday, Britain’s Channel 4 News released the first audio recording from Tsarnaev since he was taken into police custody. In the taped phone conversation with his parents in Russia, Tsarnaev tries to reassure his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, telling her he is eating and is fine. Tsarnaev is being held in a federal prison hospital. His parents say their son has been set up and is innocent. “It is terrible what happened, but I know that my kids did not do it,”  Zubeidat Tsarnaev told Channel 4 News.

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