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Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 11:35am

Smoke, Fog Contributed To I-16 Pileup

Authorities are trying to determine what, if anything, could have prevented Wednesday’s 27 car pileup on Interstate 16 west of Dublin.

The morning rush hour accident killed four people and injured nine.

Survivors say visibility was near zero just before the chain reaction collisions, as a mixture of fog and smoke blanketed the highway.

Georgia Forestry Commission spokesperson Wendy Burnett says her agency was aware of a wildfire nearby the day before, as well as permit the commission had issued for a controlled burn.

"If there’s going to be a burn where a major roadway exists, we do try to notify Georgia State Patrol or the local authorities if we think that smoke may be an issue on roadways," Burnett said.

Asked if such a warning had been issued in this case, Burnett said the matter is still under investigation.

A driver called 911 to report the haze before the accident, said Georgia Department of Transportation spokesperson Cissy McNure.

Crews were immediately dispatched to place temporary warning signs along the highway, but less than half an hour later, they received word it was too late.

"I know that we did receive the call while our crews were either en route or actually placing the signs," McNure said.

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