Three people are dead and traffic is snarled after an 18-wheeler exploded on I-35 W, according to the Denton Fire Department.

Three more people were injured and taken to the hospital.

Firefighters and police officers responded Friday afternoon to the major crash in the 2300 block of I-35 W. The grisly crash scene showed two cars atop the burned out semi-truck. There were fatalities in three of the burned out cars, including the two on the big rig. Police said there were six cars involved, four of which were passenger vehicles, three were semi-trucks. Police had to count the rims to discern how many vehicles were involved. 

Both directions of traffic were closed until about 4 p.m. when the westbound lanes reopened. 

Both directions of traffic are closed and firefighters urge drivers to avoid the area. 

Officials say I-35W will be shut down for several hours and drivers should seek an alternative route. 

TxDOT is reporting I-35W northbound lanes at FM 2449 are closed due to a vehicle accident and fire. Northbound lanes will remain closed until Saturday morning as crews work to clear the scene. Southbound lanes are now open.