Cause of death released for Savannah firefighter who died Saturday during dock collapse rescue
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The city of Savannah is mourning the loss of Master Firefighter Michael Curry.
The 13-year veteran of the Savannah Fire Department died Saturday afternoon following rescue efforts on River Street.
"It's a sad day in our community. We've lost a hero - a person that was running towards the danger, not running from it," said Mayor Eddie Deloach.
Curry was one of the dozens of first responders helping to rescue victims after a public ramp attached to a ferry collapsed and sent dozens of people into the Savannah River.
Investigators say more than 60 people either fell into the water or got stuck on the ramp. At least 30 people were injured during this incident, including 13 people who were taken to the hospital.
The department said Curry suffered from a medical condition during the rescue. He died shortly after. The Chatham County Coroner told WTOC on Wednesday, Nov. 23 that Curry's death was ruled a "dissecting aneurysm of the aorta" - or a tear in the inner layer of the aorta. The 13-year-veteran of the department suffered a "dissecting aneurysm" suddenly as he was gearing up for a dive operation during the rescue.
MFF Curry was a technical rescue operator with the Savannah Fire Department. The chief told us this loss will really take a toll on his firefighters.
"Michael died doing what we do. It's hard to put that into words - the loss that we feel - because we lost a member of our family. Michael died doing what he loved," said Savannah Fire Chief Charles Middleton.
Curry leaves behind an 8-year old son. An official autopsy has not been completed yet.
The International Association of Savannah firefighters reacted on their Facebook page: "Savannah Professional Firefighters are deeply saddened to announce the loss of one of our own today, MFF Michael Curry… A scholarship fund will be made for MFF Curry's son as we transition through this time. We ask that you keep his family, son and friends in your prayers."
Savannah Fire says the ramps leading down to the public docks well away into the water.
Everyone who fell into the water is accounted for. Metro Police tweeted that all injuries were minor. Around 50 people managed to cling to the broken ramp.
"We started to walk back and it just collapsed and I honestly thought that I was dying. I was trying to get out of the water and then I saw my friend Caroline and I was just so happy that I saw her, so I grabbed her hand and told her to get on this mount because I saw my sister Katie," said Shelby Duncan. "I was like just get up here and somebody pulled me out and then we looked for our other friends and we found them and luckily we were all together."
For more information on visitation and funeral service, please click here.
Savannah Fire Department, US Coast Guard, Chatham Marine Patrol, Savannah-Chatham Metro Police and Southside Fire Department all responded.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Curry's family. If you would rather donate by check or money order, checks can be made payable to IAFF Local 574 - memo line 'Curry Family Fund.' They can be mailed to Savannah Fire Fighters Union, P.O.Box 15489, Savannah GA 31416.
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