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Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira steps down amid criticisms over bombings

Embattled Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira is stepping down, officials said today, with a resignation effective Friday.

Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira stepping down. File photo. Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira stepping down. File photo.

Embattled Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira is stepping down, officials said today, with a resignation effective Friday.

Abraira, who has served as chief for less than two years, faced scrutiny in the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, as some deputy chiefs believed he did not adequately take command of the chaotic Boylston Street scene as well as at other major fires.

According to his resignation letter sent on Monday, those criticisms compelled him to step down.

Abraira said he followed "nationally accepted practice" in allowing his deputies to continue to direct the response.

"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 the letter.

The Boston Fire Department announced the news on Twitter around noon, and said the department's chief of operations will handle Abraira's duties in the interim.

"We wish Chief Abraira well in his future endeavors and thank him for his service to the people of Boston," Boston Fire Department Spokesman Steve MacDonald said in a statement. "Chief of Operations John Hasson has been appointed by Commissioner Roderick Fraser to be the acting Chief of Department. Chief Hasson is a 40 year veteran with the department and has currently is in charge of the day to day operations in the field."

Abraira, who served in Dallas before his appointment as Boston Fire Chief in 2011, said he never felt that he had full support of the department, which has typically been led by chiefs selected from within its ranks.

Mayor Thomas Menino's office confirmed it had received the resignation letter but said it had no immediate comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.


Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
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