HOUSTON (AP) _ Houston's fire chief has announced he will resign at year's end to return to Phoenix, where his wife has remained during his three-year stint in Texas.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement Thursday that she had accepted the resignation of Terry Garrison ``with regret, but great sympathy.'' The statement says Garrison's wife had remained in Phoenix to help care for a sick infant grandchild.

Parker praised Garrison for installing ``the most diverse staff in the department's history,'' creating a multiyear strategic plan and providing quarterly management and financial reports for the first time.

Garrison's reign also included the deadliest fire in the department's 118-year history, a hotel blaze in which four firefighters were killed.