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post #1 of 2 Old 10-13-2007, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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boy what a bummer....

Fiery Pileup Kills Two in California

Posted: 2007-10-13 18:20:18
Filed Under: Nation News
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (Oct. 13) - A crash in a rain-slicked Southern California freeway tunnel quickly turned into a fiery, chain-reaction pileup that mangled 15 trucks, killed two people and shut down the key north-south route as wreckage burned for hours.

Photo Gallery: Huge Pileup

Mike Meadows, AP

Trucks burn in an access tunnel on Interstate 5 after a massive crash in Southern California that killed two and left as many as 10 injured.
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It wasn't immediately known Saturday whether the two people who died were among 10 hospitalized immediately after the accident, said David Porter, a California Highway Patrol officer.

Two trucks collided about 11 p.m. Friday inside a southbound truck tunnel on Interstate 5, triggering the pileup, said Fire Inspector Jason Hurd. The accident scattered wreckage for at least half a mile and continued to block Interstate 5 on Saturday.

At one point flames shot out of the tunnel and 100 feet into the night sky, said Los Angeles County firefighter Scott Clark, one of some 300 firefighters battling the blaze at its height.

"It looked like a bomb went off," said Clark, who battled the flames throughout the night.

The charred skeletons of at least a half-dozen big rigs peeked out of the tunnel's south end. At least one truck was carrying produce, and a smoldering load of cabbages lay scattered across the pavement.

By mid-morning most of the flames appeared to have been extinguished, although thick columns of smoke were still curling out of the tunnel and into the surrounding canyons. Firefighters began pouring flame-retardant foam into one end of the tunnel to douse any hot spots.

Twenty people evacuated the fiery tunnel on foot, including the 10 injured, Hurd said, and five trucks were stuck inside. One truck driver was unaccounted for, and authorities were worried that more may be missing.

Although the tunnel is designed to carry truck traffic through a mountain pass area, Hurd said passenger cars may also use it, raising concerns that some may be trapped inside.

"We're going to have to do a very methodical search," Deputy Chief John Tripp told KABC-TV said. "There could be unfortunately more people that were not able to escape."

Authorities said eight had minor injuries and two had moderate injuries, ranging from moderate burns to neck and back injuries. All 10 injured were taken to local hospitals.

The intense heat caused concrete to crack and melt, sending chucks falling onto the road below throughout the night. Firefighters worried that the damage could cause parts of the tunnel to collapse.

"The tunnel may be structurally compromised, so we're fighting the fire from outside right now," Tripp said.

State transportation department engineers were inspecting the tunnel and the freeway above to determine whether firefighters and rescue workers could enter to douse the remaining flames and look for anyone who might have been trapped.

The interstate, a key route connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, as well as a major commuter link connecting Los Angeles to its northern suburbs, was expected to remain closed throughout the day Saturday and perhaps longer.

"It could be another day, it could be days, it could be weeks," Hurd said.

The freeway is roughly 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

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post #2 of 2 Old 10-13-2007, 03:57 PM
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Holy cow man! Wow that is crazy! I hope all that were injured heal quickly and I feel for the two families who lost loved ones
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