Italian news reports say a fiery highway crash in northern Italy has killed six people.

RAI state TV quoted firefighters in Brescia as saying that five of the dead, including two children, were in a car, and the sixth victim was a truck driver.

RAI said A21 highway traffic had already slowed to a crawl because of an earlier accident Tuesday when a truck loaded with sand struck the car in front of it, which in turn slammed into a tanker truck, whose flammable liquid cargo caught fire.

Authorities didn't immediately identify the liquid.

Firefighters were on the highway about a kilometre-and-a-half north of the crash site dealing with the earlier accident when the tanker truck caught fire. Thick, dark smoke was visible for kilometres.

ITALY ITALY ACCIDENT

The crash took place on a highway between the city of Brescia and the town of Manerbio. (Filippo Venezia/EPA-EFE)

Italy Fiery Crash

Firefighters look at the charred vehicles after Tuesday's crash. (Filippo Venezia/ANSA via AP)