Florida ‘fireball’ highway crash claims six lives after diesel spill
Six people have died in a multi-vehicle crash after a diesel fuel spill sparked a massive fire on a Florida interstate on Thursday afternoon, highway officials said.
- The incident left six people dead and eight people injured
- The fire was so large emergency workers searched the adjoining woods for possible victims
- The highway was partially shut down, causing lengthy delays
Two passenger vehicles and two tractor-trailer rigs were involved in the wreck on Interstate 75, north of Orlando, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The fire was ignited after about 189 liters of diesel spilled onto the highway.
The size and impact of the crash and fire was such that a helicopter was sent to search for landed at the scene to search for hikers who may have been in the adjoining woods at the time and may also have been injured.
Alachua County Sheriff’s officials described the crash an an “extensive scene”
Eight other people were taken to hospital, some with critical injuries, the Gainesville Sun reported.
Authorities extinguished the fire, but the aftermath caused a portion of the interstate to be closed in both directions, causing massive delays on Thursday evening.
The Alachua County Sherriff’s office tweeted that the crash was in the northbound lanes but that the southbound lanes were closed to keep a route open for first responders, saying it “required all hands on deck” and warning “the closure is going to be lengthy”.
The Florida Highway Patrol said a large amount of personal property, burnt vehicles and vehicle parts scattered across the road.
Authorities said they are treating it as a pending homicide investigation.