3 vehicles destroyed in fiery crash on Route 42 in Gloucester Township

GLOUCESTER TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Witnesses say as soon as they got close to a three-car pileup in Gloucester Township, New Jersey, they could feel the heat from the raging fire radiating through their car windows.

Black smoke billowed from the scene around 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

The vehicles were reduced to charred heaps of mangled metal and melted tires.

"It's used metal now. Take it to the shredder. That's what it's worth, scrap metal," said tow truck driver Thomas Bryant.

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Fiery crash on Route 42: Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News Mornings on June 7, 2018.

A silver Volkswagen rear-ended a Hummer as a Honda Pilot crashed into them.

State police believe one vehicle caught fire, then the flames spread to the other two vehicles. Troopers had to travel down the southbound lanes to get to the scene on the northbound side.

The crash at the intersection of Landing Road caused a backup for miles.

"Traffic was just backed up on 42, it was backed up on 41, every road around," said Bryant.

Bryant and his uncle, Bob, with National Towing, had the job of hauling the charred remains off the highway.

"It's rare that we go southbound on the northbound lanes and it's rare that you have a three car fire at the same time," Thomas Bryant said.

State police say each car was occupied by one driver. Thankfully everyone got out safely, but not without some struggle. The driver's side door of the SUV was stuck.

"She couldn't get out of the driver side so she had to climb across a vehicle to get out of the car and get away from the flames and all," said Bob Bryant.

Police say the drivers of the other cars stepped in to help each other get to safety.
Road crews will return to the accident scene to clean any leftover debris, like melted tire and metal on the roadway.

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