Over 100 vehicles were involved in a massive Fort Worth Highway accident Thursday morning that has left at least five people dead and more than three dozen others injured, including some listed in critical condition. Freezing rain in North Texas is thought to be a primary underlying cause of the catastrophic highway pileup.
The chain-reaction accident involving semi-trucks, passenger automobiles, and other vehicles occurred in Fort Worth on Interstate 35. The tragic size and scope of the deadly Fort Worth highway accident is overwhelming emergency response teams in the city and county. The Fort Worth Fire Department describes the multi-vehicle disaster as a “mass casualty incident.”
Emergency medical personnel fear that the death toll in the Fort Worth highway accident very well may rise. As of midday on Thursday, an unknown number of people were still trapped in vehicles on and next to the highway. EMT teams are working furiously to extract these individuals and provide them vital medical care. A very real concern is that if these people are not extracted soon, the risk of a number of them dying from hypothermia becomes a very real prospect.
Unfortunately, there is an added realization that the death toll and the number of people injured as a direct result of the massive collision itself is very apt to increase significantly. Emergency rescue personnel have not been able to identify all of the people injured as a direct result of the initial chain-reaction collision that involved over 100 vehicles. Officials at the extensive Fort Worth highway accident scene report that rescue workers have only begun the process of “untangling” the entangled mass of vehicles running a length segment of the highway. This process requires not only the efforts of rescue personnel themselves but specialized equipment capable of pulling apart the wreckage.
Of the vehicles involved in the accident, at least a dozen are semi-trucks. The stark reality is that when a semi-truck – let alone at least 12 big rigs – are involved in an accident, the severity of the collision magnifies tremendously.
All northbound lanes of Interstate 35 have been closed to traffic. There has been no indication as to when rescue operations and then the roadway cleanup process will be completed.
Severe weather has impacted brought freezing rain to the Mississippi Valley, extending to the entire Fort Worth area, overnight Wednesday to Thursday. The freezing rain left roadways, including Interstate 35, in hazardous condition. The deadly Texas weather is part of a broader storm system being dubbed a “Polar Vortex.” The Polar Vortex is impacted cities across Texas and cities across the country. A 26-car pileup occurred in Austin shortly after the Fort Worth highway accident, an incident that itself has sent at least five people to area hospitals.
As of noon Thursday, no specific information about the initial cause or causes of the Fort Worth highway accident is available and likely even known – beyond the severe weather conditions. What oftentimes proves to be the case is that severe weather is a contributing but not the only underlying cause of this type of major highway catastrophe.