Updated 8 a.m. ET Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
At least nine people have died in crashes across North Texas after freezing rain iced over highways early Thursday.
Authorities have confirmed six people were killed and dozens more injured Thursday in what firefighters are calling a “mass casualty incident.” It happened on Interstate 35W near 28th Street, just north of downtown Fort Worth.
Mike Drivdahl with the Fort Worth Fire Department said firefighters went car to car, looking for people in need of medical care. At least five people had died in the pileup and 36 were hospitalized as of 10:25 a.m. CST, MedStar Mobile Healthcare spokesman Matt Zavadski told KXAS-TV. This was later confirmed by Fort Worth police and fire officials.
As many as 100 vehicles were involved in the pileup, according to Zavadski. Crews said it would “take a lot of time” to clear the damage and are asking people to stay home if possible.
“If you don’t have to get out, please don’t get out,” Drivdahl said. “We have a lot of emergency crews doing a lot of work. The last thing we need is people who don’t need to be out getting into any type of accidents.”
Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport reported periods of freezing rain/freezing drizzle between 3 and 7 a.m. Thursday. Rescue crews faced slick conditions and used anything they could — sand, salt and kitty litter — to melt the ice as they triaged patients injured in the crash.
A family reunification location was set up for families to pick up drivers or passengers involved in the pileup. The location is the Riverside Community Center at 3700 East Belknap St., Fort Worth. According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s Drive Texas website, about a half-mile stretch of the highway was still closed as of 1 p.m. Thursday.
In Dallas, one person died in a multi-vehicle pileup at about 11:17 p.m. Wednesday. It happened on southbound I-45 at Lamar Street, police said.
Shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday, two people were killed and a third was hospitalized after a crash along I-45 at Illinois Avenue, according to local police. Police also said multiple crashes were reported overnight, with some involving serious injuries and damage to city vehicles.
By 7:30 a.m. Thursday in Arlington, emergency crews had responded to a total of 82 crashes since 10 p.m. Wednesday, a police spokesman said. Most of the crashes occurred on bridges and overpasses where people were driving too fast for the weather conditions, according to the spokesman.