Accidents blamed on snow squalls; Wind makes for difficult fire battle



PITTSBURGH - Snow squalls moved across some of the Channel 11 viewing area Thursday morning and afternoon, drastically reducing visibility and causing several accidents.

A dozen cars were involved in a pileup on Interstate 79 North in Washington County between Racetrack Road and Houston just before noon.

Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic (@JenniferTomazic) reported that five people involved in the crash were taken to area hospitals, and three of them had moderate or serious injuries.

According to Tomazic, those three were in different vehicles, and one of the victims was trapped and had to be rescued. Their names have not been released.

One of the drivers involved told Tomazic that the conditions were like a white-out and cars could not prevent crashing into each other.

“Coming down the road it was a white-out pretty bad,” Joe Askin said. “A semi went sideways under the bridge for some reason and everyone started piling up.”

Witnesses at the scene said some of the vehicles involved suffered serious damage, while others only have minor damage.

“Everybody was splattered all across the road at one point,” Askin said.

In addition, there was a major accident on Interstate 79 in Erie believed to have around 30 vehicles involved. Three people were treated for minor injuries.

Dan Knicely told Channel 11’s Amy Marcinkiewicz that his two-hour trip turned into more than three hours because of the weather.

“We had about two (snow squalls). It was very difficult to see. The wind was moving our trucks all over the roadway and it was slick. We thought we should pull over and take a break,” Knicely said.

When driving conditions are made difficult because of weather, motorists are advised to use caution.

Meantime, cold temperatures and winds made for a tough fire battle in Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County Thursday.

Firefighters had to change their game plan and fight the house fire on General Braddock Road from a distance

No people were inside, but a firefighter said animals didn’t make it out of the flames alive.