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Marion County Fire Rescue crew replaces Air Force veteran's flag damaged by fire

'It was the least we could do," driver/engineer Timothy Ecker says

Left to right: Engine 33 crew notice the damaged flag, Engine 33's crew pose for a photo with the Air Force retiree and Driver Engineer Timothy Ecker raises the new American Flag. (Photos courtesy: MCFR)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – After a Marion County veteran's American flag was damaged during a recent fire the firefighters who responded went above and beyond putting out the fire and helped to replace the Air Force veteran's Old Glory.

Officials with Marion County Fire Rescue said Engine Company No. 33 responded to Silver Springs RV Resort late Monday morning after a 911 caller reported that a vehicle had caught fire and the vehicle was moving toward a nearby shed. When engine crews from Lynne Fire Station No. 4 and Anthony Fire Station No. 1 arrived, they found the shed fully involved. Engine Company No. 33 arrived at the scene to help and the fire was under control within minutes.

Fire crews learned that, during the fire, a 23-year Air Force veteran's flag had been damaged by the radiant heat from the fire.

the members of Engine Company No. 33 took it upon themselves to properly retire his damaged flag, Marion County Rescue officials said.

After clearing the fire, Engine Company No. 33 driver/engineer Timothy Ecker and other firefighters went to buy a new American flag and returned to the RV park, where they raised it.

Ecker, who has been with the Marion County Fire Rescue for 12 years, told News 6 that retiring the flag  has just been the right thing to do at the time.

"Then learning that he was a veteran and he served in the military for 23 years, that it would be nice for us to actually replace it for him," Ecker said, adding that the veteran was "an amazing guy."

Marion County Fire Rescue couldn't release the name of the veteran affected by the fire.

Ecker said the man was grateful that Engine Company No. 33 retired the flag, but was "10 times more grateful" when the firefighters came back with a new one.

"He was very patriotic and a very honorable man," Ecker said. "He had given a lot to us so we thought it was the least we could do."

A photo of Ecker raising the new flag is the new profile photo for the Marion County Fire Rescue's Facebook page.

Oct. 1, 2018: **MCFR returns to scene of vehicle fire and restores victim’s Old Glory** Marion County Fire Rescue...

Posted by Marion County Fire Rescue on Monday, October 1, 2018

About the Authors:

Emilee Speck

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Previously, Emilee was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a producer at the Naples Daily News. Emilee is a Space Coast native and graduate of the University of North Florida journalism program.

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