Thirteen deputy fire chiefs in Boston are calling for their boss to be fired over his handling of the Marathon bombing, saying that he did not take control of the situation.
Thirteen of the city’s fourteen deputy fire chiefs co-signed a letter telling that they have no confidence in Fire Chief Steve Abraira.
The Boston Globe obtained the letter that they wrote to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on April 26, just 11 days after the bombings at the finish line of the marathon killed three people and injured more than 250 others.
They argue that he did not take ownership of the chaotic scene when he arrived, choosing instead to allow the various deputies to lead and did not take charge himself.
“His justification for failing to take action is indefensible,” they wrote.
Thirteen of Boston’s fourteen deputy fire chiefs co-signed a letter telling that they have no confidence in Fire Chief Steve Abraira
The Boston Globe spoke with Steve Abraira who defended his actions, saying that is a “nationally accepted practice” for the top chief to continue to allow his deputies to handle the situation if everything seems to be working, rather than insert themselves into a situation that is already being controlled.
“When I got there I was comfortable with what was going on,” Steve Abraira told The Globe.
“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.”
The deputies- with the exception of one who did not sign the no-confidence letter- said that this is not the first time they have been disappointed by Steve Abraira’s actions.
They even mention an instance where there was a six-alarm fire in a Boston building and after he allegedly cleared the scene of being under control by the deputies, Steve Abraira went to the roof of the building next door to take a picture of himself with the flames in the background for his scrapbook.
Steve Abraira vehemently denied the story to The Globe, saying that it never happened.
One thing he doesn’t deny is that he changed the department’s protocol when he came into office in November 2011, making it so that he would not automatically become the so-called “incident commander” at a fire as soon as he arrived.
He justified the move saying that before changing the operating procedure, he polled 29 other city fire departments around the country and the only one that still made the Fire Chief the incident commander was in New Haven, Connecticut.
His deputies don’t see the move as one out of public safety but more out of self-preservation.
“[Steve Abraira] 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,” they wrote in the letter.
So far, Boston higher powers have been supportive of Steve Abraira, who made history by being the city’s first Hispanic fire chief.
Fire commissioner Roderick Fraser told The Globe that he had “the utmost confidence in my entire staff, my entire command staff, including Chief Abraira”, and a spokesman for Mayor Menino said that he had “full confidence” in Fraser.
Moroccan teenager Salah Barhoum has been forced to deny today that he was linked to the Boston Marathon bombing after photos of him carrying a bag and accompanied by a man with a backpack near the finish line were published in the media.
The picture of the 17-year-old was widely circulated in the days following the explosions along with allegations that he was being sought by the FBI.
ABC News spoke to the brother of the 17-year-old track star and confirmed that he went to the police on Wednesday to clear his name.
Salah Barhoum’s younger brother said that their mother was “sick and upset” that he had been connected to the fatal attack.
“It made her think he had done something wrong,” the brother told ABC News.
“My brother is not the bomber.”
The high school athlete had originally thought that he wanted to run in the race but when he could not for unspecified reasons, he went to the marathon route to watch the others.
The Moroccan teenager has been forced to deny that he was linked to the Boston Marathon attack after photos of him carrying a bag near the finish line were published in the media
After seeing photos of himself online and speaking to the authorities, Salah Barhoum took to Facebook to clear his name after reportedly making contact with authorities, saying: “Going to the court right now!! S*** is real. But u will see guys I’m did not do anything.”
Several hours later on Wednesday evening, he posted again: “back home! everything is fake but god is with me.”
The images show one young man in a blue athletic top standing beside another man in a white baseball cap and black sweatshirt, is believed to be one that the FBI circulated among law enforcement officials.
It is believed that the FBI will later today release images of men they want to question in connection to the bombings. It is not clear if the picture of the Moroccan teenager and his “coach” are among those images, and they have not been
After the image was distributed rapidly, new claims emerged on social media sites that they were innocent bystanders.
Anonymous sources from online community Reddit said that they were “friends” of the man in the blue tracksuit, and said that he was “just a high school kid that loves track”.
From there, reports range from saying that the man beside him in the white hat is his coach to others asserting that the “kid” does not know the man. Neither man has been publicly identified by name.
The supposed acquaintances on Reddit said that the man in the black track suit spoke with police, who then called the FBI.
“Both are scared, the guy in this pic will miss school tomorrow, where hs competing for some track competition, the other guy will miss work,” Reddit user “desert_morning” posted early on Thursday.
Friends defended Salah Barhoum on Internet forums saying he was a high school track runner who had gone to watch the marathon on Monday with his coach.
Salah Barhoum describes himself as a keen runner and member of his high school track team. The teen works at Subway and posts that he is a fan of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Hunger Games and Hannah Montana.
On his Facebook profile, which has since been made private, Salah Barhoum posted pictures in the crowd along the race route on Boylston Street close to a large screen of the race.
The two people pictured-including the Moroccan-American teen- are not formally considered suspects.
“I wouldn’t characterize them as suspects under the technical term. But we need the public’s help in locating these individuals,” said Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Conflicting reports about the veracity of the photos and why authorities sent it out.
CBS reporter John Miller says that neither of the men pictured are suspects in the bombings that killed three and injured 183 on Monday.
Because of the crowded nature of the finish line, authorities are parsing through a combination of civilian footage and security tapes from nearby businesses. Reports of surveillance footage from a nearby Lord and Taylor’s department store gave initial hope about having the suspects pictured.
US officials have denied recent reports that a suspect has been detained over Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings.
The Associated Press and CNN cited law enforcement officials as saying someone was in custody, but police and the FBI in Boston denied the reports.
Earlier, officials reportedly said a suspect had been identified from security video by the race finish line.
A press conference is due to be held at 17:00 ET.
Police and journalists arrived at a courthouse in Boston amid confusion over whether a suspect had been held in connection with the attacks, which killed three people and left more than 170 injured.
US officials have denied recent reports that a suspect has been detained over Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings
“Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston marathon attack,” the FBI said in a statement.
“Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate.”
The Associated Press reported that the anonymous law enforcement official who was the news agency’s source for the report that someone was in custody had insisted it was true, even as it was widely disputed.
President Barack Obama, who plans to attend an interfaith service on Thursday in honor of the victims in Boston, labeled the attack an act of terrorism.
Investigators have been sifting through thousands of pieces of evidence, ranging from video recorded on mobile phones to fragments of shrapnel removed from the victims’ legs.
Officials said a circuit board and battery pack – parts of a triggering mechanism – had been recovered and the lid of a pressure cooker, apparently blown off during the explosion, was found on the roof of a nearby building.
The bombs are believed to have consisted of explosives placed in 1.6-gallon (6-litre) pressure cookers, one with shards of metal and ball bearings, the other with nails.
Nobody has claimed responsibility for the bombs, which a source said had been placed in black bags and left on the ground.
Doctors treating the wounded say their injuries indicate that the bombs contained metal shards and other shrapnel. A number of victims have had limbs amputated.
Boston Medical Center trauma surgery chief Peter Burke said hospitals were saving “large quantities” of fragments extracted from victims for the police. They include metal, plastic, wood and concrete.
“We have a lot of lower extremity injuries, so I think the damage was low to the ground and wasn’t up,” Dr. Peter Burke said.
“The patients who do have head injuries were blown into things or were hit by fragments that went up.”
At least 58 of the injured have been released from various hospitals around the city, according to AP.
Of those that remain, a five-year-old child, a nine-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were among 17 victims listed as in a critical condition.
The first explosion went off close to the finish line at about 14:50 local time on Monday.
Seconds later, as rescuers were rushing to help the injured, another explosion went off nearby.