Captain Lewis Leach has been a member of the Bevil Oaks Volunteer Fire Department for sixteen years.
Leach’s home lost the battle with Tropical Storm Harvey floods, and his battle with stage four colon cancer is ongoing.
"The way it was in my body, I had a five-year life expectancy, and I'm pushing five years now. And yes, I still fight house fires," Leach said.
He was a bit disheartened to see parts of his home loaded into a dump truck.
“That’s everything my wife, my daughter, my mother-in-law have, but that’s stuff, we have each other, that’s the main thing,” Leach said.
Leach helped in the response during Harvey after he evacuated his
Some of the contents in his home were ripped out by firefighters with the Heart 9/11 Foundation and members of Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 54.
“It was touching, heartbreaking...me being always being the one there to help others, having others to come in and help me, was hard,” Leach said.
“I don’t like the handouts, I try to help myself, help my family help the community,” Leach said.
After pulling sheetrock from his longtime home on September 11, Leach heard a fire alarm ring in the wreckage.
Leach dug to find the fire alarm, but the New York firefighters, some of whom responded to the World Trade Center, asked him to let the alarm ring.
"Having them here with me on that day, it also helped take my mind away from my tragedy, knowing that others have had it way worse," Leach said.
Leach says he plans on rebuilding his Bevil Oaks home.
"As long as I can try to help the community, I'm going to stay in the community as long as I'm doing a good job, helping others and they're benefitting from the help," Leach said.
Leach, his wife, and their daughter are staying in a Lake Charles shelter until they can rebuild their home.