Local media reports Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed, the first black woman to head a major U.S. city fire department, could retire as early as Sunday.

Deloach Reed, who reportedly complained about being intentionally overshadowed by other top city officials in the days immediately following the disastrous Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 in an illegally converted warehouse, becomes eligible for a $15,000 annual pension from Oakland on Sunday. Deloach Reed, 59, has taken two leaves of absence since the Dec. 2 fire, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

No comment

Oakland officials declined to comment on Deloach Reed's situation.

“The city does not comment on the leave status of employees,” a spokeswoman for the city's mayor, Libby Schaaf, told the newspaper on Tuesday.

In fact, the chief has been largely unseen since the fire, which revealed shortcomings in Oakland's fire safety inspection regime. The Ghost Ship warehouse reportedly had not been inspected in decades, and officials apparently were unaware that it was occupied despite numerous visits from police and firefighters over the past few years.

Visitors killed

Nearly all the people who died in the Dec. 2 blaze were visitors attending a musical performance, also being held without required city permits, who were trapped in the second-floor performance area when the warehouse's lights went out.

There were no fire alarms or illuminated exit signs in the building, which reportedly had 20 full-time artist-residents.

Deloach Reed reportedly felt disrespected when Deputy Chief Darin White and Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton represented the city at news conferences after the national media descended on Oakland, the newspaper said.

Deloach Reed had wanted to publicly acknowledge heroic efforts by Oakland firefighters to save fire victims and locate bodies even after the building became dangerously unstable.

Deloach Reed joined the Oakland department in 2012 after 23 years with the fire department in San Jose, the San Francisco Bay Area's largest city.

She did not return telephone calls for comment, the newspaper said.

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