A fiery crash claimed the lives of at least seven people and sent several others to the hospital along Interstate-75 in northern Florida, officials say.
The crash occurred Thursday afternoon when 50 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled and ignited, causing massive vehicle fires on the road. Florida Highway Patrol officials said the crash occurred around 3:42 p.m. and involved two tractor trailers, a mid-size sedan and a passenger van.
Southbound lanes remain closed, “due to a large amount of personal property, vehicle parts and burnt vehicles still in the roadway.” FHP officials re-opened northbound lanes around 8:00 p.m.
Alachua County Fire Rescue responded to the scene near mile marker 393 and was able to extinguish the fire, but warned that the roadblock would remain for several hours. The agency’s UAV team and the Alachua Sheriff’s Office AIR 1 helicopter responded to locate and rescue victims.
A hazardous materials team also responded to the crash, according to the Gainesville Sun.
FHP Lt. Patrick Riordan told WTSP 10 News that “multiple children” were killed in the accident.
Officials said eight patients, some of whom sustained critical injuries, were transported from the scene. Six of the patients are being examined at UF Health, which activated its emergency response mass casualty plan at around 4:25, ABC Action News reports.
Drivers are advised to avoid the area.