During a news conference the day after the disaster, Richmond defended his decision not to move firefighters close to the burning homes before the fire gained such headway that it eventually consumed 61 houses.
He said he considered it unsafe for the firemen to approach the MOVE home any earlier for fear that they would be fired upon.
Quotes: "When the fire started to move, there were shots fired and the firefighters backed down from defensive positions."
"As you, know we have a bad history [with MOVE] . . . Firefighters are not supposed to be police officers. If it's a decision between my people and my property, I tell you I'm going to protect my people."
2010: Today Richmond gives educational presentations to local fire companies and attends some social events with the Philadelphia Fire Department.
He wrote a book called "What I've Learned, Thoughts From a Fire Chief," which is not about MOVE but rather is a collection of musings on leadership, management, training and operations gleaned from 28 years' experience in the Fire Department.
He said the deaths of the five children inside the MOVE home is one of the hardest things for him to forget.
"The adults made an obvious decision that day; the children did not," Richmond said in a recent interview.
"No question it was a tragic event, and it didn't turn out the way anybody wanted it to turn out."
Looking back, he said, many mistakes were made that day.
"It was certainly not a textbook case," he said.
"I've always been one to share my successes and failures. The Fire Department's goal was never to go out and come away with the tragedy that we did."