Christopher Michael Leach was born on September 10, 1975, to Frances H. Leach and the late Michael F. Leach. Chris was a 14-year veteran of the City of Wilmington Fire Department, where he proudly served until his death.
Chris began preparing to become a leader in the fire service from the time he was a young boy, with experiences in the Boy Scouts of America, where he became an Eagle Scout; Talleyville Fire Company; Claymont Fire Company; and the Wilmington Fire Department. Chris began his fire service career as a volunteer with the Talleyville Fire Company in 1993. In 1997, he was hired as a full-time employee with Claymont Fire Company. During this time he was introduced to technical rescue, and this became his area of expertise. He attended many trench rescue and structural collapse training classes all over the country, including the Compliant Structural Collapse Technician Course given by the Virginia Task Force 2 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the Advanced Collapse 3 and 4 at the Texas Engineering Extension Service in College Station, Texas. He attended the Collapse Structure Rescue Course given by NASA at their AMES research center in Moffett Field, California.
On September 16, 2002, Chris was hired by the City of Wilmington Fire Department and successfully completed the fire academy with the 32nd Recruit Class. Following graduation, he was assigned to Engine 4B Platoon, where he became qualified to drive Engine 4 after just six months in the company. In 2005, Chris was transferred to the Special Operations Command on Engine 1B, and in 2006, he was transferred to Heavy Rescue Company 1B, where he took the initiative to research and apply for various monies for rescue training and equipment. Chris served on the New Castle County Task Force 1, the local technical rescue team, where he held various positions of leadership.
Chris received numerous commendations and awards, including commendations for professional development, two unit citations for technical rescue, the Kiwanis Firefighter Award, the Life Saving Award from Claymont Fire Company, the Heroic Fireman of the Year from Claymont Fire Company, and the Heroic Fireman of the Year Award for New Castle County. In 2013, Chris was promoted to lieutenant, and he was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain.
In addition to his associate degree from Delaware Technical Community College in fire protection engineering technology, he earned a Bachelor of Science in fire science administration from Waldorf University in 2015. He was pursuing a Master of Arts in organizational leadership with a concentration in fire/rescue executive leadership at the time of his death.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by three children, Brendan, Abby, and Megan, and their mother, Kelli Zullo; his sister, Kathryn; and her wife, Carolee LeNoir.