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Fireworks Truck Explodes In Deadly 193-Vehicle Michigan Crash

One person died Friday in a massive pile-up on snowy Interstate 94.

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Updated on

About 193 vehicles collided on a snowy Michigan interstate Friday in a massive chain-reaction accident that left one person dead and more than a dozen injured.

A truck driver from Ottawa, 57-year-old Jean Larocque, died in the accident, which happened around 10 a.m. in eastern Kalamazoo County between Battle Creek and Galesburg.

Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder told BuzzFeed News Friday evening that the accident included about 193 vehicles, including 76 semi trucks. Crews were still clearing the accident out late Friday, and Pazder said they did not know what they would find at the "epicenter."

"There's unfortunately still a possibility that we could find another fatality as we get closer to the epicenter of this crash," he said.

About 22 people, including two fire fighters, were hospitalized as a result of the accident, Pazder also said.

One of the vehicles was a truck carrying fireworks, which ignited in the fires that broke out following the crash:

Semi with fireworks exploding on I 94 east of Galesburg Michigan. Unbelievable

Tim Marquardt@UTM16Follow

Semi with fireworks exploding on I 94 east of Galesburg Michigan. Unbelievable

8:58 AM - 09 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

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The initial crash involved just a handful of vehicles in the eastbound lanes, sheriff's deputies told the Free Press, but scores of additional vehicles soon began running into the first group until the accident stretched for hundreds of yards in the westbound lanes.

One bystander recorded the accident while it was still in progress, eventually racing toward the still colliding cars to help people get out:

View this video on YouTube

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The crash also involved a truck carrying 44,000 pounds of hazardous acid.

View this video on YouTube

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Pazder said a tanker full of formic acid collided with other vehicles in the accident. Some of the acid leaked and hazmat crews were called out, but Pazder did not know how much. He described the acid as a "toxic substance with a relatively low flashpoint."

"We're still dealing with that tanker," Pazder said about 12:20 a.m. ET. "We might still have some acid."

Officials hoped to re-open the interstate Saturday morning.

People in the area captured images of large plumes of smoke rising from the wreckage.

View this video on YouTube

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Some pictures from the 94 crash. Highway is shut down from MM 85-92. Multiple fatalities. Semi truck is on fire.

Jessica Wheeler@jessicawheeler3Follow

Some pictures from the 94 crash. Highway is shut down from MM 85-92. Multiple fatalities. Semi truck is on fire.

7:17 AM - 09 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

The accident happened during particularly harsh winter weather.

An investigation into the cause of the accident was ongoing early Saturday morning, but Pazder said the weather was likely factor.

"We had snow, blowing snow, whiteout conditions," he said.

The temperature was a mere 12 degrees late Friday morning, according to the Free Press, and images showed roads covered with snow and ice. The cold weather is the result of a high-pressure system moving south out of Canada.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

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