Updated: 10 p.m.
A fiery pileup crash involving nearly 30 vehicles along Interstate 94 in central Minnesota on Thursday morning sent nine people to local hospitals and closed a stretch of the freeway for hours.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported that it happened amid an intense snow squall at about 9:15 a.m. along I-94 in Monticello. The State Patrol said driving conditions were "extremely difficult."
About half of the 29 vehicles involved in the crash were semis, one of which was carrying tires. Several vehicles caught fire, and photos from the scene showed fires burning and a thick plume of smoke rising into the sky. Some vehicles were destroyed by the flames.
Authorities said nine people were transported to local hospitals with what appeared to be minor injuries.
The crash forced the closure of both directions of the highway for a time. By early afternoon, the eastbound lanes were open but the westbound lanes remained closed as crews continued working to remove burned vehicles and debris.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported just before 7 p.m. Thursday that the westbound lanes were back open.
The State Patrol said several drivers involved in the crash left the scene before first responders arrived. They're asking anyone with information about the crash to contact the State Patrol's St. Cloud District Office at 320-223-6666.
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