DENVER – One person was killed and three others hurt in a fiery crash on I-25 north of downtown Denver Thursday morning.
The Colorado Department of Transportation closed the northbound lanes of the freeway at 58th Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. and worked on routing traffic the opposite way while firefighters and paramedics staged a response.
Visuals from the scene depicted two fiery, burned-out vehicles: a Jeep and a dump truck. Officials told Denver7 they were working on “life-saving efforts.”
Denver police, who are investigating the crash, said one person was deceased and three others were taken to the hospital for treatment. Another person at the scene refused treatment.
Police said at a noon news conference that the person who died in the crash was a passenger in the Jeep, and the three others hospitalized were in the Jeep as well. The dump truck driver was medically cleared at the scene.
Firefighters were forced to both put out fires in both vehicles and a grass fire that sparked from the flames.
A Denver police spokesperson said it was unclear what caused the crash, though witnesses at the scene said the dump truck blew a tire and collided with the Jeep, which was forced up onto the retaining barrier on the side of the highway.
“It just sounded like a bomb going off…a loud pop, which I guess was the tire blowing, and then an explosion,” said witness Donie Salum.
Salum owns a fitness studio near the site of the crash, and says employees from another nearby store ran to the scene as soon as it happened, first having to make it through a fence with a locked gate, and used fire extinguishers to try and put some of the flames out. They were also able to pull one of the women from the Jeep.
"There's been a lot of wrecks, but nothing like that," he said. "I don't know if you ever forget that."
"Those people were just driving along. A truck blows a tire and puts them into the guard rail. Everything's changed for them forever."
Lanes began opening to traffic again at roughly 11:30 a.m. but officials expected some closures to last for several hours. The entire highway was reopened just after 3:30 p.m.