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Firefighters remember ‘great friend, great leader, great captain’ Darryl Moore

Video by Eliza Davidson

At Truck Company 40 Monday afternoon, about 30 friends and colleagues formed a circle, grabbed hands and prayed in an attempt to come to grips with the shocking loss of a fellow firefighter earlier that morning.

Chicago Fire Department Capt. Darryl Moore, who spent years stationed in the Beverly firehouse on the Far South Side, died from an apparent drowning Monday at Jackson Park Inner Harbor. Friends said he had been at a party marking the end of boating season before he disappeared; his body was later found by authorities.

“I’m devastated,” said close friend Kevin Betton, 50. “I immediately started crying, and I’m still crying because I’m still hurt. He was a great person, a great friend, great leader, great captain. He was the best.”

Moore, 55, had been with the Chicago Fire Department since 1987. He had three children and lived in Ashburn.

Betton met Moore when he first joined 22 years ago. Moore served as a mentor and role model to younger firefighters, Betton said. Their children even attended elementary school together.

“You always knew that Darryl was there,” Betton said. “He was a great teacher, he was very funny. … He was somebody you would definitely want to fight fires with.”

Retired Fire Lt. Gerald Glover said he was still trying to come to grips with the loss of his longtime friend. The two attended high school together. Moore played the flute rather than take up a sport and would tease people by calling them “Pookie.”

But later, as the two became firefighters, Moore showed a more serious side and would snap into action at a moment’s notice.

“One specific time we had this one particular fire, and all I could hear was, ‘Open it up! Open it up!’” Glover recalled. “He was trapped in the hallway, and it was scary because I knew it was him in there.”

They were able to get Moore out of the hallway and would later joke about his shouting, which he did on a regular basis.

Moore’s death shook Glover Monday.

“After I thought about it, I broke down. I tried to hide it from my son who I was taking to school, but I couldn’t hold it no longer,” Glover said.

Fire Lt. Quention Curtis, who is president of the Black Fire Brigade, said Moore leaves a void in the department that will be difficult to fill.

“Your first 10 minutes you met him would be him messing with you, but then he would get down to the order of business, and then you will realize how bright and smart he was,” Curtis said. “He was a great leader and a team player.”

A tribute for Moore was scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the office of the Black Fire Brigade, 8404 S. Kedzie Ave.