Emergency crews attend a fire after an accident on highway 407, as shown in this still image taken from a video provided by Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, in Toronto on Wednesday Oct. 31, 2018. Officials say two people have been killed in a multi-vehicle crash that sparked a tanker fire on a major toll highway in the Toronto area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ontario Provincial Police-Sergeant Kerry Schmidt

Two killed in Ontario crash that sparked tanker fire

“I could see smoke from kilometres away as I was heading to the scene”

Two men were killed in a multi-vehicle crash that sparked a massive tanker fire on a major toll highway in the Toronto area on Wednesday, emergency officials said.

The crash happened just before 5 p.m. on Highway 407 in Vaughan, Ont., where provincial police said a westbound tanker crossed several lanes of traffic, jumped a median and collided with an eastbound passenger vehicle. Both vehicles burst into flames and were still smouldering hours later.

In a video posted on Twitter, provincial police spokesman Sgt. Kerry Schmidt described the collision as “massive” and said the investigation would take some time.

“I could see smoke from kilometres away as I was heading to the scene,” Schmidt said later during a media availability at the scene of the crash.

He said both vehicles were “completely consumed in flames.”

Schmidt confirmed Wednesday night the victims were a 41-year-old male truck driver from Brampton, Ont., and a 49-year-old man from Mississauga, Ont.

Deputy Chief Andrew Zvanitajs with the Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service said the crash involved a tanker trailer carrying liquid fuel.

“When our firefighters arrived, they weren’t able to get close to it because of the heat coming off of it,” Zvanitajs said in a phone interview.

“But that type of heavy black smoke, and that amount of flame, would lead them to believe that it’s a liquid fuel product of some sort … gasoline or diesel would be the most commonly transported.”

Zvanitajs said crews used specialized foam to fight the blaze, and the flames were under control by 7 p.m. He expected firefighters would be on the scene for several more hours.

York Region spokeswoman Kylie Doerner said two people were pronounced dead at the scene and no one was taken to hospital.

Meanwhile, Mississauga resident Robert Kostiuk said he was returning home from work in Pickering, Ont., when he saw a vehicle ahead of him heading toward the median.

“When I saw it driving sideways, I knew that something was wrong,” said Kostiuk.

Kostiuk, who works for Ontario Power Generation, recorded the fiery crash on his dashboard camera and posted the video to YouTube. He said he’s never seen anything this bad.

The highway was closed in both directions between Keele and Dufferin streets well into the evening. Schmidt said he expected the westbound lanes to reopen overnight, but the eastbound lanes could remain closed until early Thursday morning.

Schmidt said there was some concern about fuel from the tanker spilling into a nearby waterway, and workers from the provincial Environment Ministry were assessing the scene.

He said the extreme heat from the blast has the potential to damage not only vehicles, but the road surface itself, which may need to be repaved.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Honour

Houston residents took the time to rememeber on Nov. 11, 2018 (Simon… Continue reading

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

North Coast figure skater to star in Dancing On Ice

Carlotta Edwards learned to skate in Prince Rupert, before becoming a star with millions of viewers

Making poppies

Kindergarten students from Silverthorne Elementary School went to Cottonwood Manor to make… Continue reading

Still unclear whether closure of Silverthorne Elementary is a strong possibility

Houston residents invited to discuss school district facilities next week

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public on future of LGBTQ rights in USMCA

Legislators urged Trump not to sign the agreement unless the language was removed.

Most Read