Six Mile fire chief Duncan retires

SIX MILE — Six Mile Fire Chief Ronnie Duncan has spent most of his life answering calls for help.
Duncan volunteered in his role as chief since 1986, having served as a volunteer for the Six Mile Fire Department since 1977, but retired effective May 1.
Duncan’s retirement comes as county officials assume the duties for fire safety in Six Mile, under the leadership of Mikey Barrett as of July 1.
Though he has served as a volunteer his entire career, he feels fortunate because of the men he served with over the years.
“I was pretty fortunate,” Duncan said. “We answered between 90 and 120 calls a year, and even though we were volunteers, we still had to be certified just like the guys who do this full-time.”
Duncan said he tried to arrange it so that the volunteer firefighters would have their training paid for by the city, giving the firefighters money for training when it was available. Duncan said the firefighters were always ready to learn more through their training.
“I feel like we had one of the best firefighting crews in the county,” Duncan said. “From my experience, these are some of the best guys I could have hoped to work with. The fact that they were volunteering their service and were so dedicated shows the kind of quality people we have on the force.”
Duncan said that in a small town like Six Mile, often he and his fellow volunteers were called upon to fight a fire involving somebody they knew. Six Mile firefighters also serve as first responders for any wrecks in the town.
Duncan praised the county’s 9-1-1 system.
“Whoever came up with that really helped save lives in this county,” Duncan said. “It is one of the best things that has ever happened in this county, not only because it notifies helpers fast, but also because it makes it clear exactly where we need to go to solve the problem.”
Duncan noted the professionalism he encountered with other firefighters in the county.
“We all worked together good,” Duncan said. “We had mutual aid agreements, so no fire was too big for us.”
Duncan has big plans for his retirement, mostly centered around his family.
“Ever since I got married, I always wanted to have six boys,” Duncan said. “I wound up with just one, but my son has three boys of his own, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them. I’m going to have me a good garden … with sweet potatoes, and maybe some watermelons, I hope. That’s my biggest agenda.”
In addition to his service as fire chief, Duncan has also worked as a postal carrier for the past 14 years.
“It’s kind of an extension of what I do… helping people through my mail route,” Duncan said.
Duncan worked for his parents at Harvey’s Love And Care Nursing Home for 35 year before taking on the postal route.
Of course, for much of this time he also volunteered for the fire department.
Duncan plans to attend the state firefighters convention in Myrtle Beach, seeing some of the friends he has made across the state during his career, then he plans to take a physical and see if he will be able to continue as a volunteer for the fire department.
He promises to assist his successor, but keeps his words of advice limited, because “(Barrett’s) got to do things his own way.”
But help him is what Duncan has in mind.
“All he has to do is call me,” Duncan said. “I will help him any way he wants me to.”