A strange postscript to the smokey I-77 tunnel fire in Bluefield, West Virginia on Friday. Two people claiming to be volunteer firefighters from Maryland have been arrested, charged by West Virginia State Police with obstruction for taking an emergency vehicle and driving it into the tunnel.
According to news reports, 30-year-old Colin Dunn and 30-year-old Virginia Price of Maine came southbound through the East River Mountain Tunnel in their own vehicle as the fire was being fought on the northbound side. When they reached the Virginia side, police claim the couple put on gear and took a county emergency vehicle.
“They ran into the tunnel, in their infinite wisdom,” (West Virginia State Police Sgt. D.W.) Miller said. “They said they were attempting to help their friends — they are volunteer firemen in Maryland. We explained to them they were not in Maryland, and did not have friends in the tunnel. They had no authority to do that here, basically.”
Miller said the initial report was that the couple stole a fire truck, but later reports indicated it was a county emergency vehicle. He said the two were not charged with theft of the vehicle.
Miller said the individuals may have had good intentions, but they could have put themselves and others in harm’s way with their actions.