WEST, Texas — The West firefighter who died Tuesday while working traffic control at the site of a vehicle fire on I-35 was a survivor of the 2013 West explosion, Mayor Tommy Muska confirmed to 6 News.
Muska said the volunteer firefighter who died was Edward "Eddie" Hykel, who had been with the department for 16 years.
"He was a valuable employee for the city," Muska said. "He was a unique individual, and everybody loved him, and he was, he was everybody's best friend and would do anything for you."
He died after a semi-truck crashed into a fire truck and two DPS patrol units near Exit 354, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Ryan Howard.
Hykel was struck by a vehicle during the crash and was taken to Baylor Scott and White Hospital in critical condition, but was later pronounced dead.
"Fighting fires is one thing, we shouldn't have to worry about the loss of death on the interstate because someone was too big in a hurry," Muska said.
Howard said the two troopers were also taken to BS&W to be treated for their injuries. Both troopers were released from the hospital Wednesday.
During the West explosion, Hykel suffered from facial lacerations and a shoulder injury while responding to the scene, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
The National Fallen Firefighters foundation is currently working with Hykel's family.
"When you encounter first responder vehicles, tow trucks or anybody, Texas Department of Transportation crews or even roadside crews, especially with their lights on, you want to make sure that you slow down and move out," Howard said. "Slowing requires you to slow down 20 mph below the speed limit or vacate the lane that you're in, that way you can give that little cushion to make sure that first responders or whoever's on the side of the road is in a safe place."