Community in disbelief after West firefighter with a ‘service heart’ killed in I-35 accident

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:54 PM CDT
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WEST, Texas (KWTX) - The City of West is in grief after tragically losing volunteer firefighter, Edward Hykel, Tuesday.

Authorities say Hykel was at the scene of a car fire on northbound I-35 when he was hit by semi-truck whose driver allegedly disregarded traffic control signs. Hykel was transported to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest, where he later died.

Former police chief, Darryl Barton, said Hykel had a service heart and wishes drivers would pay more attention on the road.

“There was no reason to think everything wasn’t already in place to protect the personnel that was there, especially, when you’re driving a big truck. Pay attention to what you’re doing. There are people’s lives that are at stake here,” said Barton.

Barton said he worked closely with Hykel while he worked in city hall, and especially, during his time as a firefighter.

“I’ve seen him on fire calls because he was one of the first ones to respond whenever there was a call that came out. He was here to help, he was here to do what needed to be done,” said Barton.

Hykel was one of the many first responders that worked during the West explosion almost 10 years ago that killed 15 people.

Hykel survived that explosion, but 12 first responders did not.

“I’m sure that was heavy on his heart knowing the 10-year anniversary is coming up. That’s going to be 10 years since we lost our colleagues, our friends, our family. I know that was weighing heavy on his heart, but he’s with them now. He was one of a kind. He was the type where you never had to question what he was thinking, but he was never cruel about what he was thinking either,” said Barton.

Barton said if you look up “good man” in the dictionary, you’ll see Hykel’s picture.

Now, the West family must cope with the fact that they’ll only see Hykel in photographs moving forward.

“We’re proud of not just our heritage, but our love for each other. We can be dysfunctional at times, but that’s just a part of being a family. But for the most part, this family sticks together, especially when there’s a tragedy,” said Barton.

The West Volunteer Fire Department said it will plan services for Hykel.

No word on dates just yet.