GALESBURG — Four years ago , on Jan. 9, 2015, blinding snowfall and freezing temperatures resulted in 193 cars and trucks slamming into one another on Interstate 94 near Galesburg, Michigan.
A Canadian trucker lost his life. Several people were injured. And it took nearly two days to remove the wreckage. Along the way, fireworks being transported in one of the trucks began to explode, creating an unexpected air show and forcing a shelter in place order for those living within a mile or two of the scene.
When the explosives started, firefighters working the scene were forced to take shelter behind their truck.
Cold temperatures also played a role, in creating icy conditions but also during the cleanup. A hazardous materials team working to transfer formic acid from a damaged tanker truck found that the valves keep freezing shut. The truck was carrying 44,000 pounds of the acid, which is used as a preservative and as an antibacterial agent in livestock feed.
Temperatures below 10 degrees, with strong winds, persisted, making the removal of semi trucks difficult. The crash included 76 semis and 117 passenger vehicles.
Newschannel 3 obtained cell phone video of the crash from a witness, and video of the fireworks from a Leroy Township firefighter, Gregory Gammons.