The 193-vehicle pileup that caused 40,000 lbs. of fireworks to explode

The cause of the accident turned out to be negligence.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On Jan. 9, 2015, a tractor-trailer collided with another truck. This led to a 193-vehicle pileup.

This event occurred in a Michigan town called Climax, which is about 26 km east of Kalamazoo.

It was a wintry scene on the I-94. The wind was howling at 24-48 km/h, with gusts at 72 km/h. That wind was blowing snow all over the place, creating a whiteout on the highway.

The entire wreckage took up about a half-kilometre of road. Included in the crash was a tanker loaded with 44,600 pounds of liquid formic acid and another truck with 40,000 pounds of commercial-grade fireworks.

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After the crash, the fireworks imminently went off, surrounding drivers and passengers had to dive for cover. Everyone was evacuated to a nearby church.

There was one fatality. Alan Oosterbaan, an officer with the Michigan State Police, said "What amazes me is that only one person was killed."

Unfortunately, the cause of the accident was negligence. Though the weather was far from ideal, drivers had been going too fast for the conditions. A total of 63 people received tickets for driving improperly in the wintry circumstances.

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