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Published on February 22, 2024
San Antonio's First African American Fire Chief Charles Hood Forced to Retire After Admitting to Inappropriate RemarksSource: San Antonio Fire Department

Charles Hood, the first African American fire chief of San Antonio, has been thrust from the ranks of the city's firefighting elite, finding himself without the title he's held since April 2007. Hood confirmed in a KSAT interview that a City Hall meeting with City Manager Erik Walsh abruptly ended his tenure after he was accused and admitted to making "inappropriate and offensive comments." Hood's shock was palpable as he described being "shell shocked" upon leaving Walsh's office no longer as the city's fire chief.

The termination of Hood's employment emerged following his use of a particular phrase that sent ripples through the department. According to Texas Public Radio, Hood admitted to saying "pussy always wins" to male SAFD personnel, a comment that was swiftly deemed "vulgar, demeaning and disrespectful to women." City Manager Erik Walsh concluded that such remarks were disruptive enough to professionally and immediately to cease Hood's service with the department.

Hood, in his defense, sought a platform for closure and detailed his abrupt retirement in an exclusive discussion with KSAT anchor Steve Spriester. Despite his sudden exit, Hood's legacy includes grappling with the darker moments of SAFD's history such as the loss of firefighter Scott Deem and the harrowing experience of encountering a trailer full of smuggled migrants' deceased bodies. He harbors a profound emotional attachment to his parting words to his team, many of whom he was unable to bid farewell personally.

While the search for a replacement is underway with deputy chief Christopher Monestier temporarily at the helm, the city acted decisively by removing Hood's biography and photograph from the official website soon after the decision. Mayor Ron Nirenberg advocate for a continued strive towards making the City of San Antonio a workspace epitomized by equity, safety, and productivity. "No matter the department or environment, people will be treated with equal respect and dignity in our city," Nirenberg reinforced in a statement obtained by the Texas Public Radio.