Two firefighters treated after tunnel blaze

BLUEFIELD (AP) — A tractor-trailer fire filled an Interstate 77 tunnel with black smoke, backed up traffic for miles and sent two West Virginia firefighters to a hospital.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports that the fire in the East River Mountain Tunnel near West Virginia’s border with Virginia was extinguished by 5:50 p.m. Friday, more than 2½ hours after it was reported.

Mark Perkins, a firefighter with the Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department, said two of his colleagues were transported to Bluefield Regional Medical Center for treatment for smoke inhalation. Several other departments also responded.

Bluefield Fire Chief Jeff Warden said smoke pouring out of the tunnel was so thick that for about 50 feet from the entrance “you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.”

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