(MIAMI) — Police suspect an arsonist may have started a Florida brush fire that helped blind drivers in a series of collisions that killed 10 people, making the suspect liable for multiple counts of manslaughter.
A 20 mile stretch of Interstate 75 south of Gainesville was closed overnight as fog and smoke limited visibility, but has since been reopened.
The thick haze of fog and smoke from a nearby fire turned the highway into a death trap late Saturday night and into Sunday morning as drivers of cars and tractor trailers smashed into each other.
Ten people died and 18 were injured.
It wasn’t clear what started the fire, but officials suspect it may have been intentionally set because there had been no controlled burns in the area and no lightning strikes.
“If it were arson, and we could determine who caused the fire, it would be manslaughter,” Art Forgy of the Alachua Sheriff’s department told ABC News.
The Florida Highway Patrol and various sheriff’s offices continue to investigate the crash.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Sara Zendehnam, CNN
Ralph Ellis, CNN
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN