McLennan Co, Tx (Fox44) – UPDATE: The Texas Department of Public Safety announced on Tuesday afternoon that the West firefighter struck by a vehicle earlier in the day has been pronounced dead.

The West Volunteer Fire Department has identified the victim as Eddie Hykel – who the department says was “an integral part of the machine that is West Fire Department and it will take a long time, if ever, to replace this part.”

(Courtesy: West Volunteer Fire Department)

DPS originally reported that the incident happened as Hykel was working on a vehicle fire near the Hill-McLennan County Line. Troopers were providing traffic control along with the West Fire Department at approximately 12:57 p.m. Tuesday for a vehicle fire on northbound Interstate 35 – near Mile Marker #354 in West. The inside lane was shut down with traffic control devices, a fire truck and two DPS patrol units.

A Peterbilt truck tractor semi-trailer traveling on the inside lane disregarded the traffic control devices and struck Hykel – as well as a fire truck and two patrol units. Hykel was transported to Baylor Scott and White in critical condition. The two Troopers were transported to the Baylor Scott and White in Waco to be treated for injuries sustained from the crash.

DPS also said that traffic on Interstate 35 northbound was diverted onto the service road from Exit #354. Delays were expected to last up to three hours.

The investigation is active and ongoing. FOX 44 News will have more information as it becomes available.