Pileup closes I-94

Police have lifted an evacuation order for a three-mile area around a stretch of I-94 in Kalamazoo County that is closed in both directions due to two pileups involving as many as 150 vehicles with at least one death reported. According to initial reports, as many as 50 semis are involved in the pileups including one that was hauling 40,000 pounds of fireworks that burst into flames triggering several explosions. That prompted the evacuation order along with a shelter-in-place order for a one-mile radius around the crash area because of concerns of hazardous materials. Both those orders have been rescinded. The chain reaction crashes occured around 10:30 this morning (Friday) between Mile Markers 90 and 92 in the eastbound lanes of traffic in Charleston Township near the border of Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties, but both directions of I-94 have been shut down. A trucker from Ottawa, Canada, died and multiple others have been injured. More than a dozen have been taken to hospitals in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Police were using buses to get people off the freeway to warming centers. Police estimate the freeway will be closed for another 10 hours or more.  (MRN)

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