OAKLAND (BCN) — Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed, who has been under fire since the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in December, has announced that she will retire in May, according to Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Deloach-Reed headed a department that dealt with the city’s deadliest fire in its history, the blaze at a warehouse at 1315 31st Ave. in the city’s Fruitvale district on Dec. 2 that killed 36 people who were attending a concert.
The property was being used illegally as a residential space and the Fire Department has been criticized for not checking it for safety violations.
According to Schaaf, Deloach-Reed, 59, has lived in Oakland for 22 years but began her fire service career as a firefighter in 1986 with the city of San Jose, where she rose through the ranks before being appointed to the top job in Oakland in 2012.
In securing the job, Deloach-Reed became the first African American woman in the country to lead a big city fire department, Schaaf said.
Deloach-Reed earned many awards for her leadership, including the NAACP Henry Gage Senior Excellence in Leadership award, the IABPFF Black Chief Officers’ Committee Metro Lifetime Achievement award and the Martin Luther King Association’s Public Safety and Service award, according to Schaaf.
“Chief Reed has been a role model to many,” Schaaf said in a statement. “I thank her for her dedication and service to the department and this community.”
“On behalf of our colleagues and the residents of this city, I congratulate her on a pioneering career and wish her well in her retirement,” Schaaf said.
The mayor said deputy chiefs Mark Hoffmann and Darin White will head the department while the city launches a nationwide search for a permanent fire chief.
“Our goal is to ensure that the best and brightest candidates emerge from the recruitment process. As we did during the search for a police chief, in the coming months we will engage the community and fire department staff to maximize stakeholder input,” Schaaf said.
Deloach-Reed wasn’t immediately available for comment today.