A long line of cars and trucks collided one after another early Sunday on a dark Florida highway so shrouded in haze and smoke that drivers were instantly blinded. At least 10 people were killed.
When rescuers first arrived, they could only listen for screams and moans because the poor visibility made it difficult to find victims in the wreckage, which was strewn for nearly a mile, police said.
Authorities were still trying to determine what caused the pileup south of Gainesville on Interstate 75, which had been closed for a time because of the mixture of fog and heavy smoke from a brush fire that may have been intentionally set. At least five cars and six tractor-trailers were involved, and some burst into flame.
Steven R. Camps, of Gainesville, said he and some friends were driving home several hours before dawn when they crashed into the pileup.
"You could hear cars hitting each other. People were crying. People were screaming. It was crazy," he said. "If I could give you an idea of what it looked like, I would say it looked like the end of world."
At least 18 people were taken to a hospital.
All six lanes of the interstate remained closed Sunday as investigators surveyed the site and firefighters put out the last of the flames.
It was not clear when the highway would reopen, because part of the road melted, police said.