Richard–“Rich” to all his friends—lived his life by his creed, Semper Fidelis. He was the first person to offer help and volunteer and put the needs of others before his own. He was a loving husband to MaryAnn and a devoted father to Callie and Victoria.
He graduated from Wagner High School in June 1977 and served in the USMC from January 1978 to January 1981. He completed boot camp at Camp Lejeune and was awarded Meritorious Unit Citation, Marksmanship Sharpshooter Badge, and Rifleman. He served in the Philippines, Guam, Camp Pendleton, and the South Pacific as a lance corporal and was honorably discharged. He was proud to serve his country and was a patriot. He was a lifetime member of the Marine Corps League #246 Staten Island.
He entered New York City civil service as a Department of Corrections officer, serving from April 1982 to April 1983. After working in corrections, Lt. Estreicher moved directly to the New York City Fire Department.
His lifetime dream was becoming a member of the FDNY, where he joined on June 1, 1983, and was assigned to Ladder 156 in Brooklyn, known as the “Highway.” In October 1989, he became a member of Rescue 5, an elite unit of the FDNY. Rescue 5 is a highly specialized unit whose firefighters received rigorous specialized training. While there, he was cited for bravery four times. He was promoted to lieutenant in February 1997, serving in the 32nd Battalion, and then assigned to 41st Battalion, where he was the lieutenant at Engine 248, “The Heart of Flatbush.”
On Sept. 11, 2001, Rich worked an overnight shift at Engine 250. He stuck around to have breakfast, when he saw a plane crash into the WTC on the news. Rich immediately got back in work mode. He gathered other firefighters that were off duty and took the spare rig into Manhattan. As he crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, he saw the second tower collapse. He reported to the FDNY post on Vesey and was ordered to lead a group of firefighters to search Building 5. While that building was burning, he heard someone yell at them to evacuate. He and his team quickly evacuated, and the building collapsed around them. Lt. Estreicher worked at the WTC until 2 a.m., when he came home to his family. He was assigned to the WTC 1st Task Force from October 2001 to April 2002.
Rich was a loving, kind man who will always be in our hearts and remembered for his bravery and sacrifice on September 11, 2001. Rich succumbed to his illness from the WTC on 11/11/2019, Veterans Day, two days before his sixtieth birthday. He is missed every second of every day.