(CNN) — Thirteen out of 14 Boston deputy fire chiefs have signed a letter of “no confidence” in Fire Chief Steve Abraira regarding his handling of the Boston Marathon bombings, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN Tuesday night.
The Boston Globe reported that the deputy chiefs lodged their displeasure in a letter to Mayor Thomas Menino dated April 26.
“You can unequivocally consider this letter a vote of no confidence in Chief Abraira,” the deputy chiefs wrote, according to the newspaper. They said the chief failed to assume command responsibility or show any leadership at the scene.
But Abraira defended his actions to CNN.
“In their estimation, they believe that if you don’t assume command you don’t have responsibility there for what goes on,” he said. “I tried to explain to them, if I’m on the scene, I’m still responsible. That’s it. But they don’t believe it.”
The chief told the Globe that he was comfortable with the way his commanders were handling the incident.
“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,” he told the paper.
The twin blasts at the end of the Boston Marathon on April 15 killed three and wounded more than 260 others.
One of two bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died after a gunfight with authorities four days later. After much secrecy and protest, he was buried in a rural Virginia cemetery this month.
Police took his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, into custody on April 19 after finding him hiding in a boat in the backyard of a Watertown, Massachusetts, home.
He has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property causing death.
Tsarnaev is being held at Federal Medical Center Devens.