Ron Walker spent his life fighting fires and protecting other people’s homes and properties. He retired from the Volusia County Fire Department, and has been a Flagler County volunteer fireman, posted at Station 81 in Rima Ridge, a few block’s distance from his home.
Thursday afternoon he was out fishing. And his home burned.
By the time several companies of firefighters arrived–including Flagler County Fire Rescue, the Volusia County Fire Department and the Ormond Beach Fire Department–it was too late. The fire was fully involved, consuming the brick home at 180 Rodeo Road that Walker himself had built.
Walker stood by, with his wife and the couple’s dog, watching the structure burn, and watching firemen salvage what they could from it.
“It’s a total loss,” Flagler County Fire Chief Don Petito said, standing with Walker. Walker himself could not speak about his loss, only pointing one moment at a small cluster of belongings spread on a tarp. “That’s my pride and joy right there,” he said. Collecting on the tarp were his many fireman’s helmets from his various postings, some going back decades, a few statuettes, a few framed images. That was about all the firemen had been able to bring out of the burning house.
The cause of the fire is unknown. No one had been home when it started.
Only last December, Petito said, Walker had been involved in fighting a brush fire that burned very close to the property. You could still see singed pines and a few charred remnants at the edge of the yard.
Flagler County’s Station 81 is shared with Volusia County’s Station 18. Volusia County’s station is staffed by professional firefighters. Flagler’s is staffed by volunteers. Volusia is planning on ending its staffing at that station, which receives very few calls.