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I-94 closed in Kalamazoo county after massive car pileup

Jan 9, 2015

Update 9:45 p.m.

Michigan State Police now say there were 193 vehicles in total involved in the pile up.

Police say there were 76 semi-trucks involved in the accident. Some caught fire, including one hauling 44,000 pounds of hazardous materials and another with a load of fireworks.

Several hours after the crash, crews were still putting out flare ups.

One of the truck drivers died. The 57-year old was from Quebec. At least 20 people were injured, including two firemen and a wrecker driver.

Police say it “is still unknown as to when the freeway will reopen.”

Update 3:44 p.m.

Here is the latest on the I-94 pileup from the Michigan State Police:

As of 2:45 P.M., the following in formation has been obtained. Emergency personnel on scene estimate that there were 123 vehicles involved in the crash on I-94. There were multiple semi-trucks involved as well.

There was a vehicle fire, which involved multiple vehicles in the center of the traffic crash. One of the semi-trucks contained approximately 44,000 lbs of hazardous material. An initial evacuation order was announced, however, hazmat crews quickly contained the material and the order was lifted, therefore there is NO LONGER any evacuation order.

Another semi which contained an unknown amount of fireworks also caught fire causing the fireworks to explode. The last update we have had was that 23 people sustained  injuries that required hospitalization.

Non-injured drivers were transported via bus to a local Galesburg school while authorities were investigating the crash.

All vehicles involved in the crash will be towed to McDonalds towing in Kalamazoo.

It is still estimated that the freeway will be shut down for the remainder of the day.

2:23 p.m.

A series of crashes along I-94 this afternoon in eastern Kalamazoo county caused at least one death and led to a call for residents to stay indoors. The Associated Press reports that 150 vehicles on both sides of highway were involved, including trucks with hazardous materials.

More from the Associated Press:

Lt. Rick Pazder says many vehicles [were] on fire, including at least two semi-trucks carrying fireworks and other hazardous materials.

The crashes are located between mile markers 88 and 92 in eastern Kalamazoo County, near Galesburg. Authorities are blaming snow, wind and poor visibility in the crash.

Police first said 90 vehicles were involved, then no more than 70. But Pazder says a better count now puts the number around 150, with a majority in westbound lanes.

He says a trucker from Ottawa, Canada, died, and an unknown number of people are injured.

Authorities had asked residents within a one-mile radius of the crash to "shelter in place" - that order has since been lifted.

More from the Michigan State Police:

As of 1:30 P.M., Hazmat officials have advised that there is NO LONGER any evacuation order. This is to 

include any shelter in place order from the previous update. As of this time, fire departments have the fire extinguished. It is still estimated that the freeway will be shut down for another 12 hours.

You can see images of the crash gathered from Twitter below:

[View the story "Images of I-94 pileup in Michigan" on Storify]