Community leader remembered after dying in house fire

Local News

FOREST HILL, WV (WVNS) — The call came in right before midnight Sunday night.

Ron Cantley is the fire chaplan for the Forest Hill Volunteer Fire Department and he was one of the first to respond.

“To a structure fire with possible entrapment,” Cantley described the call.

The house was fully engulfed in the blaze. The fire was so intense, it melted metal and destroyed almost everything in the home, but firefighters had to do their best to fight those flames because they knew someone was inside

“We tried to make an entry, but just couldn’t. The power lines were popping off in the backyard, along with a propane cylinder, so those dangers had to be taken away before we could even get any closer,” Cantley said.

The person inside was Michael Allen. He died in the burning home while firefighters tried their hardest to rescue him. But his legacy lives on in the memories of the people from Summers County.

Kathy Boone was a student of Allen’s and eventually worked for him when she was a teacher and he was a principal.

“He cared about his students and he was always involved. He spent a lot of time with the school system. He was always around,” said Boone.

He wore many different hats in the Summers County education system. He was a science teacher, health teacher, and even a principal. But his most memorable position was an athletic trainer, where he earned the name ‘Doc.’

“They nicknamed him Doc Allen because he would always treat anybody that had any type of athletic injury, regardless of the sport,” Boone said.

The void following his passing is more devastating than the tragic fire which claimed his life. In a county where sports are king, Doc Allen was able to leave his imprint on generations of students who passed through the halls of the local school system. He will be remembered for the lasting mark he left behind.

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