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State police told NBC News "over 50" vehicles were involved in the jam-packed pileup.

Cory Angell, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, said there were multiple fatalities, along with more than 40 people transported to area hospitals. He did not say how many people had died.

About 70 people took shelter at a local Fire Department. Most of the cars remained stuck there through Saturday afternoon, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management said.