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Hanover firefighter honored on 3 year anniversary of his death

Hanover firefighter honored on 3 year anniversary of his death
Posted at 11:55 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 23:55:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Hanover County Fire and EMS, as well as other fire departments across the region, remembered their fallen brother on Monday on the three-year anniversary of Brad Clark's death. They also took the chance to remind drivers of the importance of moving over for crews on the side of the road.

Clark, 43, was killed and three other firefighters were injured on October 11, 2018, when a tractor-trailer slammed into their firetruck on I-295 while they responded to another crash.

The incident happened as the remnants of Hurricane Michael came through the state.

Hanover Fire Battalion Chief, Gregory Martin said he witnessed the tragedy as it played out over their radio.

"We were at our emergency operations center," said Chief Martin "We were able to hear a lot of emergency traffic."

Chief Martin said even three years later, Clark's absence was still felt.

"Brad was quick with a joke. He was really funny," Chief Martin said. "While this may be the third anniversary of his death, you know, we're reminded of his work every day."

Since Clark’s death, Chief Martin said the fire department had emphasized safety, taking time around the anniversary for a stand-down to review protocols while on an accident scene.

"And we do that in Brad's honor," Chief Martin said. "To make sure that our guys are fully aware of what their responsibilities are, what they need to do, how they need to conduct business, for their protection, and for those around them."

Goochland County Fire and Rescue also honored Clark on the anniversary of his passing with a tag placed inside their trucks.

"So, in each one of our first out engines and our ambulances and staff vehicles, we have put Brad Clark’s name here to recognize him, show respect for his death," said Deputy Chief Tony Gordon.

Chief Gordon said the tags were also placed in vehicles to remind firefighters they weren't invincible.

"By having him there, Brad Clark at the top of this list, that we need to be extra careful because it can happen. We never know when we’re going to make it home or not make it home," Chief Gordon said.

Chief Gordon said Goochland County Fire and Rescue stepped up their training following Clark’s death.

"When Brad Clark got killed it made us wake up and think about this," he said.

He also said drivers played an important role in firefighters' safety.

"I think Brad Clark’s death brought a lot of attention to the move over law," Chief Gordon said

The move over law requires drivers to move over to another lane, or proceed with caution if moving is not possible or safe when passing by an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.

Following Clark’s death, lawmakers passed a bill that toughened the punishment for not adhering to the law.

Now, if drivers don't move over or slow down when passing an emergency vehicle, they could be charged with reckless driving on their first offense, which is a class one misdemeanor.

Despite stricter laws, Chief Gordon said in his experience, drivers still weren't adhering to it.

"I was just on the interstate here earlier this week, and traffic was coming zipping right by us at highway speeds they weren’t even slowing down," Chief Gordon said. "And then you have the people that are distracted while they’re driving, they’re trying to videotape or take photographs of whatever they’re passing by."

Chief Martin added that how people drive, could mean the difference between life and death for emergency crews.

"What we asked our community is to understand that, you know, we want to go home too. We want to go home to our families, we want to maintain our life," said Chief Martin.