A fiery crash involving a big rig and four other vehicles, followed by explosions, resulted in at least one death and several injuries on the 10 Freeway in Pomona and prompted authorities to close lanes on the freeway.
Crews reopened all lanes early Tuesday after an overnight closure prompted by a series of collisions, the first a multi-car crash that the big rig driver could not avoid hitting moments later. All eastbound lanes are expected to reopen at about 7:30 a.m.
The first crash was reported at 8:12 p.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway near the Towne Avenue off-ramp. Within minutes, the big rig slammed into the wrecked cars.
The driver of the big rig, Hector Avina, told NBC4 he saw the crash but could not stop to avoid the other cars.
The wreckage became engulfed in flames and exploded, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Avina grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to one of the cars and pulled out one of the passengers. Though he alone could not save everyone, numerous helpers arrived to try to rescue the injured.
"We had a couple good Samaritans who were helping pull people out of the wreckage," CHP Officer Gramm told NBC4.
At least one person was killed and eight were injured -- four critically.
Earlier reports suggested 10 people were hurt in addition to the person who was killed, but CHP officials admitted they had trouble determining the amount of people involved.
Officials closed the entire freeway during firefighting and rescue efforts, and reopened westbound lanes about 9:20 p.m. Eastbound lanes reopened about 6:30 a.m.
Aerial video showed patients being airlifted from the scene. The big rig, which was carrying wooden television stands, appeared to be on top of several vehicles -- how many was not clear due to extreme damage to the cars.
One vehicle appeared to have been reduced to charred metal and ash.
CHP officials were still investigating whether the wrecks were a result of human error or equipment malfunction.
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