WJTV News Channel 12 - Roanoke I-581 fiery crash shuts down highway

UPDATE: 2 lanes reopened following I-581 crash in Roanoke

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By WSLS Reporter Scott Leamon By WSLS Reporter Scott Leamon
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ROANOKE, VA -

6:22 a.m.

The center lane of I-581 near the Valley View Mall exit in Roanoke has also reopened.

6:00 a.m.

The left southbound lane at the Valley View mall exit on I-581 in Roanoke reopened. The other two southbound lanes are still closed because of a deadly accident there Wednesday. State police tell us all the lanes won't likely reopen until later Thursday afternoon at the earliest, because of the damage to the roadway from the fiery crash.

1:40 a.m.

Virginia Department of Transportation says the pavement will need to be fixed before they can let people back on the southbound lanes of 1-581. State police officers and VDOT are the only agencies left on the scene. An accident reconstruction team was also working on figuring out the details of what led up to the crash.

11:30 p.m.

State Police say the center and right northbound lanes of I-581 have re-opened.

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8:28 p.m.

Virginia State Police believe the driver of a maroon car is to blame for a deadly, fiery crash that has Interstate 581 blocked in Roanoke.

Troopers say the maroon car was driving north on I-581, near the Valley View Mall exit, when it veered into the path of a tractor trailer.  The car hit the tractor trailer, then crashed into the median.

The impact caused the tractor trailer to cross the median into the southbound lanes of I-581, and hit a second tractor trailer.  The impact from this crash also caught two other vehicles.

State Police say the crash killed the drivers of the tractor trailers, and sent at least two other people to the hospital.

The driver of the maroon car is listed in serious condition, and charges are pending against them.

As of 8:28 p.m., all lanes of I-581 between the Hershberger Road and Elm Avenue exits are still blocked.

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7:36 p.m.

Virginia State Police say at least two people are dead, following a fiery crash on Interstate 581 in Roanoke late Wednesday afternoon.

The crash involved multiple vehicles, including at least one tractor-trailer, and sent thick smoke over Downtown Roanoke around 5 p.m.

VDOT and police have shut down a nearly three mile stretch of the highway's northbound and southbound lanes near Valley View Mall, from the Hershberger Road exit to the Elm Avenue exit in downtown.

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7:26 p.m.

State Police say 2 dead in I-581 fiery crash.

Highway still blocked.

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6:30 p.m.

Roanoke City Police advise drivers to avoid I-581 between Hershberger Road and Elm Avenue.

Traffic to and from Downtown Roanoke is being detoured onto Williamson Road to get around the crash site.

The fire is out, and multiple vehicles are involved.  At least one is a tractor trailer.  Another appears to be the remains of a pick-up truck.

We're waiting to hear from State Police about what caused the crash and fire.

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5:54 p.m.

A photo by WSLS reporter Scott Leamon shows the fire is out.

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5:25 p.m.

VDOT says all southbound lanes of I-581 are blocked at Hershberger Road.

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5:08 p.m.

Our Wells Fargo towercam sees a fire on I-581, causing heavy black smoke to blow over Downtown Roanoke.

The accident is near the Valley View Mall exit.

We can see northbound I-581 traffic is being detoured at Orange Avenue,

We are working to get more information about what happened.

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