A volunteer firefighter was killed in an on-duty crash early Friday morning on Highway 87 outside Tar Heel, while a second person was hospitalized in critical condition.
Ron Allen, who served in the Tar Heel Fire Department, was marking fire hydrants along northbound Highway 87 early Friday morning when his truck was rear-ended by a Ford Explorer. Investigators said he had stopped his Ford truck along the left lane of the road, put on his flashers, and spray-painted an arrow on the pavement.
"The vehicle hit him in the rear, and it pushed the truck forward, and it ran over him," said Bladen County Fire Marshal Mitchell Byrd.
The driver of the Explorer was flown to a hospital in Fayetteville while Allen's body was draped with an American flag and placed atop Engine 574. The truck rolled past Station 57, where flags flew at half-staff.
Allen, who friends said was in his mid-30s, had a full-time job as a corrections officer at a state prison. Friends said firefighting was his passion, however. He joined the department when he was a teenager and attended all the fire training schools. He was marking the fire hydrants on his day off.
"On all of his days off, that's where he was mostly found working, or anything going on in the community. He was very dedicated, very dedicated to his church," said friend Jackie Singletary.
Authorities said the accident remains under investigation. The reason for the collision remains unknown.
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Visitation for firefighter Ron Allhas been scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Tar Heel Baptist Church, 521 Tar Heel Ferry Road.
A funeral is planned for 4 p.m. Monday Sept. 25 at the Tar Heel Fire Department, 269 Tar Heel Ferry Road, with burial to follow at the church.