2 people have died after a fiery 14-vehicle crash on a major Ontario highway Tuesday evening.The death toll could rise.
According to OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, the deadly collision occurred just south of Barrie, Ont. at approximately 10:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes of Highway 400, just north of Country Road 88.
Police said at least two fuel tankers and a number of other transport trucks were involved in the accident. Schmidt said that “massive fireballs and massive explosions” reduced most of the vehicles to “shells” with “nothing left.”
Schmidt shared, “It is absolutely devastating. I don’t think I’ve been to a scene that was as incredibly devastating as what this is.”
“There are cars everywhere. Twisted transport trucks, destroyed vehicles, metal that is unrecognizable as to whether or not it is a vehicle at all or not.”
He warned that the exact number of fatalities is still unknown and the death toll could rise.
A witness shared that he saw one transport truck hit the back of another truck that was carrying vehicles, which led to a chain-reaction of crashes.
He added, “The transport truck literally rolled right up the vehicle transport. After that I heard some popping sounds and then a loud explosion right above the roof of my vehicle. I got out and just looked back. It was just one explosion after another.”
Schmidt said that both fuel trucks were “consumed by fire” following the accident.He said crews let the fuel “burn off itself” and that it took two-and-a-half hours before the fire was extinguished.
Police were responding to another collision further north on the highway which created a slowdown when the pileup occurred. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Schmidt said an early inspection indicates that a transport truck may have collided into slowing traffic
A stretch of Highway 400 about an hour north of downtown Toronto is closed in both directions this morning after it was turned into a heap of “tangled, twisted metal” following the collision.