HANOVER COUNTY, Va. – Friends and colleagues are celebrating the life of a Hanover County firefighter killed after a tractor-trailer struck a fire truck working an accident along I-295 Thursday night.
Forty-three-year-old Lt. Brad Clark with Hanover County Fire-EMS was killed and three other firefighters were injured after troopers said their firetruck was rear-ended on I-295 near Pole Green Road at 9 p.m.
"The fire engine had its emergency lights activated while stopped in the far left lane and shoulder," Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller said. "A southbound tractor-trailer rear-ended the fire engine and struck four firefighters who were outside the fire engine."
Clark, from Station 6, Hanover County Fire and EMS, died at the scene.
Officials said two other firefighters were transported to VCU Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. A fourth firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to troopers.
"The current conditions of our Firefighters at VCU Health Systems are as follows: Firefighter/Medic #1 - Stable Condition. Firefighter/Medic #2 - Serious, but Stable Condition," Hanover County Fire-EMS Department officials said around 1:30 p.m. Friday. "We've been humbled by the show of support during this difficult time. Please know, we are in a difficult position with balancing the family's needs and quickly pushing out information."
Firefighter: Clark was devoted to his family and loved his job
Shawn Jones, a Richmond firefighter and part-time firefighter for Hanover County, said Clark loved his family, community and country.
"He loved the military, he loved his country and he loved the fire service dearly,” Jones said. “He loved his family and the most recent conversation I know we had was, he was talking about his daughter going to college and he was telling me that these things came fast."
Clark was featured on an Australian TV show earlier this year.
“We all know the stresses of this job," Clark said. "The heat it puts on you, the gear, equipment, they’ll wear you out. You’ve got to be in shape.”
Clark's passion for his job was clear in the interview with Todd Sampson for "Body Hack 2.0."
"I could not go work in an office. Somebody could offer me an office job tomorrow and say they would for $120,000 a year and I'd tell them to pack sand," Clark said.
Over the years, Jones said he grew to love Clark's passion and called him a "man’s man."
Jones, who teaches firefighters Traffic Incident Management (TIM), said interstate calls are some of the most difficult in their line of work.
"We dread being on the interstate,” Jones said. “You have people at speeds of 65 mph and we are trying to get work done. Some have no regard for emergency vehicles."
Jones said he wishes the public would take Virginia's Move Over Law more seriously.
“[There are] secondary accidents because of onlookers, people not paying attention, or people just not obeying…," Jones said. "[We have] the Move Over law in Virginia and people are not respecting that law.”
Semi Driver Charged
Troopers said 49-year-old Lester Labarge, of California, Md., was charged with reckless driving and cited for defective brakes. Troopers said additional charges are pending.
Labarge was extricated from the truck's cab before being transported to an area hospital with serious injuries, Hill said.
Clark's is one of five deaths attributed to Tropical Storm Michael, which prompted several tornado warnings and lashed the area with heavy rainfall that was torrential at times.
Officials said the crash remains under investigation with the aid of the Virginia State Police Crash Reconstruction Team.
This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can submit a news tip here. Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for updates on this important local story.