UPDATE: Funeral held for one of two firefighters killed in crash

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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 3/31/18 @ 10:15 p.m.
An estimated 2,500 people came to pay their respects to fallen Pratt Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards Saturday during a funeral at Riverside High School.

Edwards, and Lt. Thomas Craigo were killed in a crash a week ago on their way to respond to a separate crash on the West Virginia Turnpike. Three other firefighters from the department were hurt, including the chief, who remains in critical condition.

“I have to look at it as those guys were heroes and they were doing what they love to do,” said Pratt Fire Chief Deputy Rod Johnson.

Johnson calls the large turnout, which included around 100 fire trucks from agencies across the state overwhelming, and didn’t realize how big of an impact their tragedy meant to other departments

“I’ll be honest with you, today with all these people here for support, it's very overwhelming,” said Johnson. “I've never been a part of something this big.”

The days after the crash have been hard on the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department, and the family of the victims. Johnson says they’ve all leaned on each other for support during this time.

“The family of Mikey, his wife and his parents, has given me some comfort, a lot of comfort. We've talked and they're loving people and they've really supported us and that really made a difference...We really want those families to be honored.”

After the funeral, Edwards’ casket was loaded on the top of a Pratt VFD truck and was escorted throughout the communities of eastern Kanawha County. Hundreds lined the streets to say goodbye.

Similar services will be held next week for Lt. Craigo. A visitation is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Monday and a funeral at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Both will be at Riverside High School.



UPDATE 3/30/18 @ 10 p.m.
Hundreds of people paid their respects Friday night for Pratt Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards.

Edwards was one of five people killed while responding to a deadly accident on the West Virginia Turnpike last weekend.

Firefighters call what they do a brotherhood.

"They're all hurting, everyone of them," Pratt Deputy Fire Chief Rod Johnson said.

At Friday night's service, departments from all over the area were represented at Riverside High School

"He's going to be sorely missed for sure," Johnson said.

The line of people waiting to get into the service stretched outside the building.

"Mikey was the guy, and he would let you know he was the guy," Johnson said with a laugh.

The 46-year-old had served on the department 25 years.

"We were all close friends, and we had that kind of relationship," Johnson said. "He did a great job. He was a great assistant chief. That's how he lived. That's what he wanted, and I'm sure Mikey is watching over everybody right now."

Johnson says the love and prayers fellow firefighters and the family have been showered with have helped immensely.

"The outpouring has just been so wonderful," Johnson said. "We've had people at our station every day, phone calls, texts, you can imagine. We hope that keeps going."

Edwards' funeral will be Saturday at 2 p.m. at Riverside.

Lt. Thomas Craigo also died in the crash last weekend.

Visitation for him will be Monday at Riverside from 6 to 9 p.m., and the funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2 at Riverside.



UPDATE 3/30/18 @ 12:26 p.m.
After funeral plans have been made for one of the fire fighters killed in a accident last Saturday.

According to the WV State Fire Marshal's Facebook page, after Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards' funeral on Saturday, everyone is welcomed back to the Pratt Fire Department for a dinner and gathering.

They will have someone on hand to direct traffic and fire trucks are asked to park at the Pratt Elementary School. A shuttle service will be available for those parking at the mouth of Paint Creek.

UPDATE 3/29/18 @ 5:11 p.m.
The funerals have been set for the firefighters who were killed when their truck overturned while responding to a deadly accident on the West Virginia Turnpike on Saturday.

Two firefighters, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards and Lt. Thomas "Tom" Craigo, were killed. Both of their funerals and visitations will be held at Riverside High School with the following details:

Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards
Viewing: 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 30
Services: 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 31

Lieutenant Thomas 'Tom' Craigo
Visitation: 6-9 p.m. on Monday, April 2
Services: 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3

Three other firefighters were hurt in the horrific accident. Chief Tim Walker, who remains in the ICU, has said to be showing signs of improvement. Billy Hypes is now listed as stable and is out of the ICU. Kyle Jenkins was released from the hospital with minor injuries.

Three people also died in the accident that the crew was responding to on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Keep clicking on WSAZ and WSAZ Mobile for the latest information on this developing story.



UPDATE 3/29/18 @ 3:37 p.m.
The community of Pratt is getting some more encouraging news about their fire chief after a horrific fire truck crash.

Pratt Mayor Eric Holcomb posted an update about Chief Tim Walker's condition on Facebook.

"He had a good night last night," Holcomb wrote. "Keep praying. Jesus is working his miracles with Timmy."

He went on to say the chief is responding to yes or no questions, can give a thumbs up, and has been moving his hands. Walker's lungs are clear and they hope to get the ventilator out soon, Holcomb wrote.

Walker and his crew were en route to a triple fatal car accident Saturday on the West Virginia Turnpike when their fire truck overturned.

Two firefighters, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards and Lt. Thomas "Tom" Craigo, were killed.

Walker was injured and has been in the ICU. Two other firefighters were hurt, but not as seriously.

UPDATE 3/28/18 @ 7:45 p.m.
Funeral services are set for the second Pratt Volunteer Fire Department officer who died in a crash Saturday on his way to a triple fatality crash on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Visitation for Assistant Fire Chief Michael Edwards will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 30 at Riverside High School, with the funeral at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 31 at Riverside, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's office says.

Lt. Thomas "Tom" Craigo also died in the crash, and Pratt Volunteer Fire Chief Tim "Timmy" Walker remains in critical condition at CAMC General Hospital. Two other firefighters were hurt, but not as seriously.

The fire truck overturned Saturday night on its way to the scene of the deadly crash on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/27/18 @ 11:28 p.m.
Members of the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department said Tuesday evening that Chief Tim Walker is showing small encouraging signs of improvement. However, he is still in the ICU and still has a long road to recovery ahead of him.

Another firefighter that was injured in that accident, Billy Hypes, has been stabilized and is out of the ICU.

A third injured firefighter, Kyle Jenkins, was been released from the hospital with minor injuries.

The group was en route to a triple fatal accident Saturday on the West Virginia Turnpike when they were injured.

They lost two of their own, Tom Craigo and Michael Edwards, in the accident.

Visitation for Lt. Craigo will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 2 at Riverside High School, with the funeral at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Riverside, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's office says.

Funeral arrangements for Edwards have not been released yet.



UPDATE 3/27/18 @ 6:40 p.m.
Funeral services are set for one of the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department officers who died in a crash Saturday on his way to a triple fatality crash on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Visitation for Lt. Thomas "Tom" Craigo will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, April 2 at Riverside High School, with the funeral at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 3 at Riverside, the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's office says.

Other arrangements are pending at this time.

Assistant Chief Michael Edwards also died in the crash, and Pratt Volunteer Fire Chief Tim "Timmy" Walker remains in critical condition at CAMC General Hospital, along with another firefighter.

The fire truck overturned Saturday night on its way to the scene of the deadly crash on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/26/18 @ 9:06 p.m.
A man who is a community staple for decades and the chief of the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department since 2006 remains in critical condition after deadly accident Saturday in Kanawha County.

Chief Tim Walker, who also goes by ‘’Timmy’’ Is in the ICU at CAMC General Hospital. He was one of three firefighters injured when their fire engine crashed on the way to a fatal accident on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Two firefighters were killed in the accident.

Monday, family members said Walker showed small signs of improvement and even gave a thumbs up. Friends of the family tell WSAZ they are cautiously hopeful.

Chief Walker also works as an EMT with the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority. His coworkers are doing their best to support his family while he remains in the hospital.

Wayne Harmon, Chief of Operations at KCEAA, tells WSAZ members of his staff had lunch with Walker’s family Monday and have been with them for many hours at the hospital, as well.

‘’Timmy, he's just one of those guys that everybody likes him, you know and everybody likes his company,’’ Harmon says. ‘’He maintains our radios, he's an EMT, he works in supply.’’

Harmon says Chief Walker spends a lot of his time volunteering and giving back to his community. He has been a firefighter for 25 years.

Harmon also says Walker is one of the group members who traveled to Florida to assist with relief efforts during hurricane Irma. He made such an impact that some of the people he met during that trip have been reaching out to the Kanawha County community to express their condolences and well wishes for a quick recovery after the accident.

Walker’s coworkers are now trying to help with his medical expenses and organizing fundraisers to help his family.

Anyone wishing to help with Walker’s expenses, either of the other two firefighters injured or with burial expenses for the two firefighters killed should send donations to: The Pratt Fire Department at P.O. Box 128, Pratt WV 25162.

Meanwhile the bodies of the firefighters who were killed in Saturday's accident were escorted back to Pratt Monday.

A procession of police, emergency vehicles and fire crews lead the funeral home vehicles with the bodies of Michael Edwards and Tom Craigo.

Families, Monday afternoon, were working to make funeral arrangements.

As soon as we know more about the arrangements we will post it on WSAZ.com.



ORIGINAL STORY
Two Kanawha County firefighters are dead and two remain hospitalized after an accident Saturday evening on the West Virginia Turnpike.

A Pratt Volunteer Fire Department truck was responding to a triple fatality car crash when their truck crashed en route.

Deputy Chief Rod Johnson spoke with the media Sunday afternoon to provide an update.

Firefighters Michael Edwards and Tom Craigo were both killed in the accident, according to Johnson.

Johnson says Edwards had 25 years of service as a firefighter, and Craigo had about 15 years of service with the department.

Both the firefighters killed are married and have children. Edwards just got married approximately one week ago, according to Johnson. Craigo was just married in December.

According to the deputy chief of the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department, one of the injured firefighters, Billy Hypes, is stable at CAMC General Hospital.

Chief Timothy Walker remains in the ICU with critical injuries.

Mayor Eric Holcomb took to Facebook give an update on the chief. The mayor says Chief Walker has skull fractures and bleeding on the brain and is currently sedated.

A third injured firefighter, Kyle Jenkins, has been released from the hospital with minor injuries.

A candlelight vigil is planned for Sunday evening at the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., according to organizers.

East Bank, Handley and Montgomery fire departments are covering any 911 calls that Pratt would typically be dispatched to, according to a supervisor with Metro 911.

Saturday night and Sunday fire departments, police departments, emergency management officials and community members around the region have taken to social media to express their support for the Pratt community.

A fund has been set up to help the families of the firefighters in this crash. It is only accepting checks made out to the Pratt Volunteer Fire Department. Checks can be dropped off at Pratt City Hall or mailed to P.O. Box 128, Pratt, W.Va. 25162.

The department tells WSAZ Governor Jim Justice's office has reached out to the department and the victim's families to express their condolences.

Keep clicking WSAZ for the latest information on this developing story.




 
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