LOGAN – The Logan community is mourning the loss of one of its firefighters following a tragic accident.
According to City of Logan Fire Chief Scott Beckett, the department responded to an ATV crash on W.Va. 44 near the Honda Logan Motorcycle Sales in Wilkinson at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Beckett said Ernie Woods, 46, was driving his side-by-side back to Logan when he lost control and collided with a tractor-trailer type of truck hauling scrap steel.
Woods was pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident happened during the height of the West Virginia Freedom Festival when firefighters were busy working that event. Beckett said the department had to divert half of its crew from the festival to the accident.
Woods was a member of the City of Logan Fire Department as well as a former Logan police officer, working a combined 20 years for both. He was also once a member of the 82nd Airborne Division in the United States Army.
Woods’ death is the third for the Logan Fire Department this year, following fire commissioner and former fire chief Kevin Hutchinson in April and firefighter Jimmy Ward in May. The news was tough for Beckett, who said the tragic events in 2019 have been “unprecedented.”
“We’ve had more of it in the last six months than anybody,” Beckett said. “It’s been rough. It takes a lot out of you, and you can’t replace people as good as Ernie – just an absolute top-notch firefighter and top-notch human being. Most people never hear about the Ernie Woods’ of the world unless something bad happens, and that’s kind of sad.”
Beckett remembered Woods as a selfless individual who spent his entire life serving other people.
“He was just a selfless person who never met a stranger – just an absolute great guy, and did anything that was ever asked of him,” Beckett said. “He put public service first and foremost in his life, literally his whole adult life. It didn’t matter what the weather was, how bad the conditions we worked in, he never said a word. He was just a rock.”
Beckett’s sentiments were echoed by Mayor Serafino Nolletti.
“Ernie has been here in one form or another my whole 20 years that I’ve been here at city government,” Nolletti said. “We’re all just devastated. He was always here to help me with anything that I needed. Keep his family and the City of Logan family in your prayers for the days ahead.”
Beckett said the West Virginia State Police is still investigating the accident.
Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.