Ft. Worth - Around 75 to 100 vehicles were involved in a massive pileup crash Thursday morning on Interstate 35W in Fort Worth, including several 18-wheelers, officials said. At least five people have been confirmed dead. The total number of injuries remains unknown, Fort Worth police said.

The crash happened around 6 a.m. as drivers were dealing with pockets of inclement weather across North Texas, including freezing rain. 

A number of people remained trapped hours after the crash happened and patients were still emerging from vehicles at the crash scene as of 8:30 a.m., officials said, with an estimated 30 people needing medical transport. Several of people were in critical condition. 

Information and estimates were rapidly changing as crews worked their way through the scene, and the number of patients is "growing by the minute," officials said around 8:30 a.m.

The highway is completely blocked and it's been declared a "mass casualty" event. Dozens of people will need to be transported, officials said.

First responders said there are still some cars wedged underneath other vehicles, causing some of the uncertainty. 

A MedStar unit was one of the vehicles involved in the crash, according to officials. 

First responder teams sent an ambulance bus to the scene to provide onsite care. The crash has been declared a "mass casualty" event. 

MedStar told WFAA earlier Wednesday that they had a number of patients they could not move from the scene as an 18-wheeler had partially blocked the road and traffic has them blocked in from behind the crash.

MedStar told WFAA earlier Wednesday that they had a number of patients they could not move from the scene as an 18-wheeler had partially blocked the road and traffic has them blocked in from behind the crash.

It's unclear how seriously injured drivers/passengers are butdetails from a Fort Worth Police incident report, are alarming. Someone reported hearing drivers screaming from their cars, first responders had trouble getting those in need of treatment away from the scene. @wfaa

— Eric Alvarez (@EricWFAA) February 11, 2021

The accident scene stretched around 1 to 1.5 miles long, with Fort Worth police reporting the scene at 1601 North Freeway and MedStar reporting it at the conjunction of I-35W and 28th street.

Families are being reunited at Riverside Center at 3700 E. Belknap Street in Fort Worth, police officials said. Family members will be able to pick up their loved ones that were involved in the pileup there. Authorities are asking anyone who suspects their loved ones might have been involved to call 817-546-7826. 

Fort Worth Officer Daniel Segura said investigators were on scene but, given the massive scope of the scene, it would take a long time for a full report as they determine what potentially caused the crash and what happened.

"For many of us this is a career event," Zavadsky said. "We train for this type of scenario but you never really expect it to happen."

Fort Worth Fire Department Engineer Mike Drivdahl echoed that sentiment as he spoke of the first responders who were working the scene.

"An event like this is not something many of them will see again," he explained.

All lanes have been blocked and the scene is not expected to be cleared before the end of the day.

To avoid the crash and major traffic backups behind it, drivers east of I-35W can take Sylvania, Beach St or Riverside. For drivers west of I-35, Business 287 could be an option. 

Officials warned drivers to slow down, keep their distance and wear their seatbelts especially as inclement weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

 Source: WFAA