Richmond Hill firefighter: 'There's a big part of me that feels like I failed'

INDIANAPOLIS -- The first firefighters to respond to the Richmond Hill Explosion say that, even five years later, it’s always on their mind.

Lt. Russell Futrell made the decision to self-dispatch his crew from Indianapolis Fire Station 63 – located less than half a mile from the Richmond Hill subdivision.

When they arrived, they found a neighborhood in chaos and a fire that was quickly growing out of control.

They also quickly realized a resident, Dion Longworth, was trapped in the basement of his collapsed home.

Despite their best efforts, Longworth was unable to be saved. Years later, prosecutors chose Futrell as the first witness in the murder case against the men accused of being behind the explosion.

“It was a tough experience to relive that,” Futrell said.

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RTV6 spoke with Futrell and two of his fellow firefighters – Lt. Dean Teagardin and Pvt. Richard Shirvin – in their first public interview about the explosion.

For Teagardin, just talking about that night at all is difficult.

“When I took this job… you think you’re always going to be the hero,” he said. “You’re always going to make the rescue. You’re always going to save people. And there’s a big part of me that feels like I failed doing that that day, because we didn’t save everyone.”

“I will argue with myself over it,” Teagardin said. “I do have that feeling that… could we have done more? It’s something I second guess myself about.”

Shirvin was asked to testify twice about his efforts to save Longworth. He told jurors that at one point during the extraction effort he managed to get his hand on Longworth’s arm.

“It’s vivid in my mind,” Shirvin told RTV6. “It will be forever.”

Shirvin said he agreed to talk about the case so no one forgets who was responsible: Mark Leonard, Bob Leonard Jr., Monserrate Shirley, Gary Thompson and Glenn Hults.

“I want the public to know what happened and what a tragedy it was for the Longworth family,” he said. “For both families.”

Nov. 10, 2017, marks five years since the devastating Richmond Hill Explosion. Find our special coverage of the case – including never-before-heard stories from the victims, investigators and prosecutors – below:

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