Longtime Leslie County fire official dies

COON CREEK, Ky. (WYMT) - A longtime Leslie County fire official is dead.

Ronnie Melton, 62, died Wednesday.

Melton was the fire chief at Coon Creek Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years.

"I'll just have to follow in his footsteps," assistant chief Mark Kilbourne said. "But nobody can replace him. Everybody in the world knew him and thought a lot of him. He's just going to be missed."

Firefighters with Coon Creek often work closely with nearby volunteer fire departments like Wooton and Cutshin.

"We've always had an outstanding work relationship," Cutshin fire chief Micheal Joseph said. "He was always eager to come to you. He never had any issues...it didn't matter what time it was, it didn't matter what type of weather it was."

Leslie County Sheriff Paul Howard spoke with Melton the day before Melton died.

"That's all he wanted to do was talk, but it wasn't unusual for him to do that," Howard said. "I just thought it was strange that day. Sort of like he wanted to say something else and never did. I even asked him before we got off the phone...and he said, 'Nah, I just thought I'd holler at you.'"

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Walker Funeral Home in Hyden.

Fire officials said Melton had a history of heart problems.

They are planning something special to honor him at his funeral.

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