Exclusive: Former SAFD Chief Charles Hood speaks about forced retirement and his legacy

Spriester Sessions: Hood covers a range of topics, from his ousting to the death of SAFD firefighter Scott Deem

The memories of what happened on January 3 will always be etched in Charles Hood’s mind.

He went to a San Antonio City Hall meeting as Fire Chief but he had no idea as he walked into City Manager Erik Walsh’s office that he would leave as a Former Chief.

Hood, the city’s first African American fire chief, tells KSAT anchor Steve Spriester he was “shell shocked” after the meeting.

Hood was forced to retire after what the city manager described as an “inappropriate and offensive comment.”

In this Spriester Sessions, Hood said he is speaking for the first and only time about the comment, and what he says is a need for closure.

More than 16 years as fire chief is a very long time in that business, the fact it came to such an abrupt end, even more surprising.

Spriester asked the former chief about the comment, his regrets and whether he thinks he should have been forced to retire.

The interview also covers about the death of firefighter Scott Deem, what he calls “a dark day in SAFD history,” and how he and his first responders dealt with a tractor-trailer full of the dead bodies of smuggled migrants.

Hood is also emotional about his parting message to his firefighters, many of whom he hasn’t been able to tell goodbye.

About the Authors

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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