SHIRLINGTON, Va. - Virginia State Police continue to investigate the freak accident that killed an Alexandria paramedic.
Joshua Weissman, 33, of Bristow, Va., died Thursday after falling 30 feet into Four Mile Run Creek from Interstate 395 on Wednesday night.
"This is a day of great sadness for all of us in the Alexandria Fire Department," said Alexandria Fire Chief Adam Thiel on Thursday.
Weissman was critically injured while he and a crew of first responders were on the scene of two traffic incidents on the Interstate near the Alexandria and Arlington County line.
Weissman fell into the creek after getting out of an ambulance in the northbound lanes near South Glebe Road. Virginia State Police said Weissman was climbing over the cement barriers that separate the main lanes of I-395 and the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, trying to get to a burning vehicle. The two barriers have a 3-foot gap between them, and there is no pavement between the two, which is common, police say. Weissman fell through the open gap between the barriers and into Four Mile Creek 30 feet below.
"The gaps are at the exit ramp for HOV [in that location]," says Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Jennifer McCord. "The ramp surface is at a slightly different elevation then the general purpose lanes."
Weissman was rescued from the creek by Alexandria and Arlington firefighters and taken to a hospital with critical injuries.
He was pronounced dead on Thursday.
Weissman was a seven-year veteran of the Alexandria Fire Department.
"Josh has received many letters from members of the Alexandria community commending him for his work and effectiveness," Thiel says.
He went on to describe Weissman as "committed, dedicated, professional, to the end."
Separate incidents were reported in the same stretch of 395 shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. A car fire was reported in the northbound lanes and a three-car wreck in the southbound lanes.
Portions of I-395 remained closed for hours on Wednesday for the investigation of what happened.
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