KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. — Firefighters from across West Virginia gathered in eastern Kanawha County to bid farewell to one of their own.
A second Pratt Volunteer Fire Department member, Lt. Tom Craigo, was laid to rest Tuesday following funeral service at Riverside High School. Assistant Chief Mike Edwards was buried last week.
Craigo, 40, and Edwards, 46, both of Hansford, were killed a fire truck wreck along Paint Creek Road on Mar. 24.
The procession for Craigo included fire and EMS trucks from the school in Belle to Montgomery Memorial Park where he was buried.
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Pratt Deputy Fire Chief Rod Johnson said it’s a big loss for the department, their families and the community.
“For both those guys that left us, unfortunately, it’s going to be a void that we’ll never be able to fill,” Johnson told reporters outside the school.
Craigo had a strong bond with Pratt fire department members, including the young members.
“He was very close to the younger members. He did all the training with them. He ran around with them. When they called him in the middle of the night, he came to their aid. If they needed someone and wanted to talk, he was there,” Johnson said.
Glasgow Fire Chief Marty Blankenship was one of hundreds of law enforcement who attended Tuesday’s funeral. He said Craigo was known to his department.
“There was never a stranger in his life. All around, he was well-known throughout several departments. He hung out at our stations too,” Blankenship said. “He was loved my many.”
Blankenship said working for a fire deparment is like being part of a brotherhood.
“It’s a hard job. A lot of people being on the outside looking in doesn’t really understand the bond and the trust that you build up with one another,” he said.
Fire departments as far out as western Pennsylvania were at Craigo’s funeral.
Johnson said he hopes the support continues.
“Our wish is we hope is continues for the weeks and months to come and everybody still pull together. It’s going to be tough no matter what,” he said.