North Shore firefighter dies in crash on way to fire
MOUNT HERMON, La. - A community is mourning the death of a volunteer firefighter after she was killed in a crash while responding to a house fire Thursday.
According to a report from WWL-TV, a news partner of WBRZ, the incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. near the intersection of Mt. Pisgah Road and Burch Road. The Washington Parish Sheriff's Office says 54-year-old Ronda Varnado was driving a fully-loaded water truck to the scene of a house fire when she was involved in the wreck.
Officials said the truck tipped over, sliding several yards before hitting an embankment. That’s when officials said the water tank came loose and crashed into the truck cab killing Vanardo.
Flowers could be seen placed outside of Varnado's vehicle near the District No. 2 fire station Friday evening.
"That particular agency, district 2 had about 174 calls last year. And she responded to every single one of them with the exception of one," Major Justin Brown with the Franklinton Police Department said, "She's married into my family. And also, one of our police officers here that was his spouse."
Major Brown told WWL Varnado was a mother of two sons and two step-sons. She was also a retired registered nurse and described her as a caring woman with a beautiful personality.
"She was always very outgoing. Had a smile on her fact. Was always willing to engage with you in conversation. Just a pleasure to be around," Major Brown said.
Shortly after the crash, condolences from friends and first responders poured in, paying tribute to a woman who dedicated her life to helping others.
“This is a tragedy which affects not only the Varnado family, but also the entire Washington Parish volunteer firefighter community,” said Sheriff Randy Seal. “Our volunteer firefighters do an excellent job providing fire response throughout the parish and are to be commended for their dedication and service to the citizens of our parish. I ask our entire citizenry to join with me in prayer for all who have been affected.”
An investigation into the crash continues pending further analysis of the scene, according to Seal.
Click HERE to read WWL's full report.