2 firefighters killed, 3 hurt as truck crashes on way to scene of deadly West Virginia highway wreck



Three West Virginia firefighters killed in crash

Officials say the fire truck hit a rock wall while responding to a separate fatal crash.

Two volunteer firefighters were killed and three others injured after their fire truck crashed while responding to a fatal highway wreck in West Virginia on Saturday night.

The five members of the Pratt Volunteer Fire department are heading in the direction of the wreck on the West Virginia Turnpike.

The fire truck and the off a road and into a ditch, hitting a rock, Pratt, Deputy fire chief Rod Johnson said Sunday, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported, correcting initial reports that the lorry had turned over. It is unclear what the cause of the crash.

A long line of first responders still on the scene where the Pratt volunteer fire dept. truck crashed this evening. Two firefighters killed. Three more are in the hospital tonight. @Ashleyb_WCHS will have the latest on @wchs8fox11 on 10 and 11.

— Jessi Starkey (@JessiWCHS) March 25, 2018

Two of the firefighters were confirmed dead, while the three wounded were taken to Charleston Area Medical Center for treatment, according to the officials.

“This is a tragic event and believed to be the worst accident with our volunteer fire department has ever suffered,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said in a written statement.

Assistant chief Michael Edwards, 46, and Lt. Thomas Craigo, 40, were killed, Johnson said. Edwards had 25 years of service as a firefighter and Craigo have about 15 years with the department.

Johnson said that both men had recently married, including Edwards about a week ago. Edwards and Craigo also have children, the Gazette-Mail reports.

Chief Timmy Walker, and firefighter Billy Hypes are in critical and stable condition, respectively, the report said. Firefighter Kyle Jenkins was treated and released.

Local media reported three people were killed in the first crash with the fire department was trying to achieve.

State police spokesman Capt. Reggie Patterson said in a news release that a car driven by Beatrice Patrick, 77, of Salyersville, Kentucky, was going the wrong way in the southern lanes when it struck another car head-on. The second car and ran off the road and struck a disabled truck.

Patterson said the driver of the second car, James W. Flat, 49, Westphalia, Michigan, and his wife, Tonya Flat, 38, were killed. Truck driver Jordan, Napoleon, 40, Greer, South Carolina, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was accompanied by U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., in tweeting condolences to the victims of the two accidents.

Please join Cathy and I as we pray for all those who are involved in two tragic motor vehicle accidents that have occurred on the WV Turnpike earlier this evening, which claimed the lives of five people, including two from the first reactions of the Pratt VFD.#wvgov

— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) March 25, 2018

Gayle & I are devastated to learn of the death of 2 Pratt volunteer fire brigade and the injury of 3 more. Our brave firefighters make unimaginable sacrifices & we are keeping everyone affected in our thoughts and prayers.

Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) March 25, 2018

West Virginia state police are investigating both crashes.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in these accidents for this evening and their families,” Carper said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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