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BELLE, W.Va. (AP) — Firefighters from across West Virginia joined a large crowd of mourners Saturday to remember an assistant fire chief who died when his fire truck crashed into a rock wall on a highway.

More than 2,500 people made their way to Riverside High School for the funeral of Pratt assistant volunteer fire chief Michael Edwards.

Edwards and Lt. Thomas Craigo were killed and three other firefighters were injured on March 24. They were responding to a crash on the West Virginia Turnpike that killed three people.

The 46-year-old Edwards married his longtime girlfriend March 17. Two days later he posted a photo with his bride holding a “we eloped” sign and the message “I became Luckiest man in the world” on his Facebook page.

The high school’s parking lot was filled Saturday with fire trucks and police officers for his funeral, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported. Dozens of state troopers, police officers, emergency service personnel and others from federal agencies showed up as well.

“Today is a sad, sorrowful day,” said Marty Blankenship, chief of the Glasgow Volunteer Fire Department in Kanawha County. “It’s a tragic event for the families, and also for the firefighters here.”

Craigo’s funeral will be held Tuesday at Riverside High School.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail,