4 Dead in Polk I-4 Pileup

POLK CITY -

It all started shortly before 6 a.m. when drivers found themselves in a thick blanket of fog that was compounded by smoke from a controlled burn that went out of control. The fire had been set the day before by forestry workers trying to keep the area free of wildfires. But the flames jumped the perimeter boundary set up and smoke poured over the Interstate near State Road 33.

There were two large pileups, one involving 41 vehicles and another with 19 vehicles. They included 20 tractor-trailers and at least 50 cars.

Polk County officials say in addition to the four motorists who were killed, at least three others are in critical condition at area hospitals. The interstate through much of Polk County will likely be closed the rest of today and possibly tomorrow. Motorists are being advised to take alternate routes.

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