DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s been one year since a deadly plane crash on Interstate-85 in Davidson County.

The plane took off from the Davidson County Airport and traveled a few hundred feet before it fell and hit a tractor-trailer. The Linwood Fire Department was one of the first agencies out there. The chief said he remembers many details about what he saw and did that day as his team worked to put out fires, even though he tries to forget.

“When I pulled up there, I could tell it was bad,” Chief Terry Leonard said.

Leonard described what he saw one year ago when he arrived on the scene of the deadly plane crash on I-85.

“There was flames coming over the top of the back of the trailer, laying on the sides. When this plane crashed, it caught on fire, and it sprayed plane fuel all over the interstate. Actually, the highway was burning where the gas was on,” Leonard said.

Plumes of dark smoke were coming out of a tractor-trailer with several small fires in the grass and on the pavement. Leonard could see the remnants of a plane.

“You could tell that the plane was completely destroyed,” he said.

Highway Patrol troopers said the plane left the Davidson County Airport and experienced a possible mechanical issue before crashing into a tractor-trailer on the interstate.

The fiery crash killed pilot Raymond Ackley from Charlotte. The tractor-trailer driver survived. Chief Leonard said if the plane hit anywhere else on the road, things would’ve been a lot worse.

“If it had hit a passing car with a family in there…whoever was in that car would probably be deceased,” he said.

Multiple agencies in Davidson County responded, which shut the road down for hours. The main thing Chief Leonard learned on Feb. 16, 2022, was the importance of teamwork.

“We got there,” he said. “The city pulled up there. Everybody was working together. So you couldn’t ask us for no better.”

Leonard said with the number of planes flying out of the airport in Lexington, something like this could happen again. If it does, his team is ready to respond, keeping in mind what they learned last year.