Southside Virginia Community College says a member of their team was found dead inside of a Nottoway home.
A fire broke out just after 3 a.m. Monday in the 4200 block of East Courthouse Road in Nottoway.
When firefighters received the call around 4:20 a.m., the home was completely engulfed. The dispatcher can be heard telling emergency crews that Crawley is still believed to be inside the house. Virginia State Police say it appears the house had been burning for some time before 911 was called. Firefighters are on high alert because the initial call said a propane tank may have exploded.
But state police say it's unclear if there was an explosion. When firefighters were finally able to make it inside, they found Willie Crawley dead in a bedroom.
Southside Virginia Community College says Crawley had been with the school for almost 20 years.
The college also says Crawley made an impact on hundreds of students during his nearly 20 years with the school. "Willie was committed to his students and his dedication to the trucking industry was a hallmark of his life, " said Duncan Quicke, SVCC Truck Driving Program Coordinator.
Originally from Lunenberg County, Crawley started driving 18 wheelers in the 1970s. He retired from the school five years ago but was still teaching part time. An article said he would volunteer his services to drive goods to people in need.
While the fire destroyed the house, it did not touch this Crawley's truck. You can see there are several military medal stickers on it as well as a Marine sticker. The license plate says Vietnam Veteran.
The school issued a statement about Crawley and Josh Smith, who died in a car accident in Lunenburg this weekend:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Josh Smith and Willie Crawley, two members of the Southside Virginia Community College team that died tragically this weekend. Josh was a valuable member of the SVCC team with a promising future at the college in the Automotive Program and Willie was an integral part of our Truck Driver Training Program for many years," said Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President.
Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, said "Josh's easy going attitude, professionalism, and dedication to students will be sorely missed."
Crawley retired as Truck Driving Training Instructor in December of 2012 having worked at the college since 1998. He continued to work on a part-time basis until Fall of 2016
Duncan Quicke, Truck Driving Program Coordinator, said, "Willie was committed to his students and his dedication to the trucking industry was a hallmark of his life."
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