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Seven dead in highway crash as fuel spill sparks massive fire

A homicide investigation has been launched after seven people were killed in a fiery multiple vehicle pile-up on a US highway.

The Florida crash, involving two trucks and two passenger vehicles, led to diesel being spilled across the road, triggering a massive blaze.

The collision happened on Interstate 75 close to the city of Alachua, some 130 miles north of Orlando.

Unfortunately, this is a mass casualty crash with fire and an extensive scene. The crash is in the NB lanes. We needed to keep a route for first responders open. We apologize for delays in the commute. This required all hands on deck. The closure is going to be lengthy. https://t.co/hslC4aqHFT

— Alachua Co. Sheriff (@AlachuaSheriff) January 3, 2019

Several others were injured in the crash, some critically, according to local media.

Emergency crews who tackled the blaze said they were treating the crash as a homicide investigation, but did not say why.

The fire was so intense that authorities said it damaged parts of the wreckage-strewn road.

Police are still trying to identify the victims.

Lieutenant Patrick Riordan of Florida Highway Patrol said: "There's going to be families that need to be notified that their loves ones have perished."

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The aftermath of the crash closed part of the highway in both directions, causing major delays.

Alachua County Sherriff's office said in a tweet that a route needed to be kept clear for emergency crews responding to the deadly collision, which "required all hands on deck".

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