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LA fire chief Brian Cummings to resign, mayor's office says (updated)

Los Angeles officials with City Hall and the Fire Department are preparing for the Fourth of July with renewed warnings of the dangers of fireworks. Brian Cummings (above) says that the Fourth is consistently the LAFD's busiest day of the year.
Brian Watt/KPCC
LAFD Chief Brian Cummings will resign his position effective Nov. 1 and officially retire in February, according to the mayor's office.

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings will resign, according to the mayor's office.

Cummings will officially retire in February, and former LAFD captain James Featherstone will serve as acting chief effective Nov. 1.

Mayor Eric Garcetti had made it a point when elected to office that general managers would have to re-apply for their jobs, and the fire department has been plagued for more than a year with complaints of poor response times, reliability of the 911 system, and the allocation of resources.

“I thank Chief Cummings for his service to Los Angeles. My agenda for the Fire Department is focused on reducing response times, improving technology, to make sure we’re prepared for every emergency," Garcetti said in a statement.

Cummings inherited some of the problems from his predecessors, but those problems persist more than two years after he assumed command. Internally, he angered the rank and file when he called for the transfer of some firefighters into paramedic units from fire trucks.

In a statement shared on a department website, Cummings confirmed that he would be stepping down and wrote that he was honored to have led the department.

"I remain committed to the on-going success of this great Department. I will retire confident that Los Angeles’ strong support of Public Safety and the Los Angeles Fire Department will afford the continued provision of service befitting the City of Angels," Cummings wrote.

His temporary replacement, Featherstone, also served as head of the city's Emergency Management Department.

This story has been updated.