April 26 (UPI) -- Multiple people were dead following a fiery accident on Interstate 70 in Colorado that police said would keep the section of the highway closed into Friday.
"The newest information we have is we have now confirmed multiple fatalities in this," Lakewood Police Department spokesman Ty Countryman said in a news conference Thursday night. "I don't know any more information than that at this point. We are still just getting to the wreckage."
He said the number of people killed was unknown but that they had died at the scene.
Six people were also taken to the hospital, he said.
A West Metro firefighter was injured on the scene when he was hit by debris, possibly from an exploding tire, though his injuries were only minor, the department said on Twitter.
The accident involved 12 cars and three semitrailer trucks on the eastbound lane of the I-70, he said.
Countryman said that according to a preliminary investigation, the accident occurred at around 4:50 p.m. when a semitrailer truck heading east at a high rate of speed plowed into cars at a standstill under a bridge due to another accident farther up the interstate.
The driver of the semitrailer was one of the people taken to hospital, he said.
A large fire resulted from the crash and damaged the bridge and was being checked for stability by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The westbound lanes were reopened later that night while it was expected that eastbound lanes would be closed into Friday.
"This is looking to be one of the worst accidents we've had here in Lakewood," he said.