In his 35 years on the job, retiring Burbank Fire Capt. Ron Bell witnessed the departure of Lockheed and the machine shops that soon followed.
He has seen changes in how firefighters protect themselves when battling blazes and worked with the department’s lone female firefighter.
Part of his duties as a spokesman for the department included working with the studios and ensuring safety procedures are followed with special-effects sequences.
He was also a point man for residents at grocery stores, calmly providing information when fires were raging around their homes.
Bell, who was born and raised in Burbank, initially thought of following in his father’s footsteps.
“My daddy was a Burbank cop,” said Bell, 60. “I was gonna go police, but my dad said to go a different way.”
After two years in Vietnam, Bell had the option of working with the Los Angeles Fire Department or staying in Burbank.