Former S.C. fire chief dies at age 70

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CHERAW, S.C. — A former fire chief died at age 70 this week.

The Cheraw Chronicle reported that former Cheraw Fire Department Fire Chief Donald J. “Donnie” Baker Jr. began his career with the department as a volunteer in 1962 an served as chief from 1986 until 2000.

Chief Baker attained the rank of captain by the early 1980s, and took a position with the S.C. State Arson Control Team in 1985.

“I would not have been interested in a chief’s position in another town,” Baker told The Cheraw Chronicle in July 1986. “This was the only one that could have gotten me to leave my previous position.”

Baker gave another former Cheraw fire chief, Laney Melton, credit in 1986 for his interest in becoming a firefighter.

“He’s my great-uncle and was the one who first got me interested in chasing red lights and sirens,” Baker said.

Baker was a charter junior member of the Cheraw Rescue Squad, past president of the S.C. Fire Chiefs Association, a Mason and past scoutmaster, according to the report.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

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