Three months after surviving Hurricane Katrina in one of the most ravaged areas of New Orleans east, a young fire captain was killed. You can see the remarkable videotape that Captain Richard McCurley shot as he and his fire team worked during the worst week of Katrina by clicking the link below: "Katrina's Story: Captain Richard McCurley - Part 1".
T he hardest part for the crew was not the storm, but to say goodbye to a hero and a friend.
Captain McCurley was killed when his fire truck was smashed at an intersection in New Orleans east last December. He was responding to a routine gas leak, so common after the storm.
His videotaping of the week after Katrina made a lasting impression on the 32 men who served together during and after the storm.
While the tape means a lot them, it's Captain McCurley himself who made the biggest impression on the men he worked with.
"It's just hard to see him go like that," says New Orleans Firefighter Alan Boisdore. "We thought we made it through, you know. Everybody was getting comfortable. Just an accident."
After surviving Katrina and losing their friend a few months later, the firefighters struggle to understand why. How could a man survive such a harrowing ordeal as Katrina only to be killed in a wreck?
Even as McCurley was drawing his final breaths on this Earth, he was concerned for the other injured men in his truck.
"It was stated that his last act as a fireman was to call for help for the men who was trapped, according to Captain Joe Fincher, an action that does not surprise those who worked with McCurley.
"He always thought of himself last," Fire Chief Charles Parent tells 9 News. "He was always looking out for somebody else."
That day has an even more bizarre twist for Alan Boisdore. You see, McCurley ordered Boisdore off the pumper truck that wrecked, after Boisdore injured his toe earlier that day.
"Just that close. I could have been on that truck too, and I could've had a wreck. Cause I was just gonna wrap it up," says Boisdore, fighting back tears. "I'm sorry."
Captain Richard McCurley was often referred to as "Rickey" by those who knew him best.
Very little has been said about the New Orleans firefighters' role during Katrina, but McCurley's video is proof positive about how they performed.