Emergency detour planned for Hwy 400 rush-hour traffic

Vehicles burn on Hwy. 400 south of Barrie on Wednesday Nov. 1

Gallant was on the scene of the first collision when he said two fuel tanker trucks and at least three transport trucks collided just before 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, setting off a devastating chain reaction.

At least two people are confirmed dead, but numerous vehicles have yet to be searched by authorities.

Schmidt said secondary roads will be very heavy including Highway 27, Weston Road and Jane Street. "People were literally running for their lives to not be encompassed by the moving fire that was on the highway and was down in the ditch".

He said that the fire then quickly spread along the highway, igniting other vehicles. Emergency crews had to let the fire burn itself out, and water had to be trucked in because there were no fire hydrants in the area.

"A massive fire consumed almost all the vehicles involved", said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.

One witness told CBC Toronto that a transport truck slammed into the back of another truck, initiating the pileup.

A number of people were taken to hospital following the wreck but Schmidt said that all of them have non-life threatening injuries. "My thoughts are with those who lost a loved one in the horrific crash on Highway 400".

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"There are multiple fatalities", he said, noting only two deaths have been confirmed but the victims have not been identified.

Given the surge in fatal wrecks, many eerily similar to the one Tuesday night, Ontario Safety League President and CEO Brian Patterson said it may be time for a coroner's inquest. Schmidt said he expected that section of the highway to remain closed for the rest of the day.

The crash involved five commercial vehicles including two fully loaded fuel tankers.

Provincial police said last week that since January 1, they have tracked more than 5,000 transport truck-related collisions that have left 67 people dead. "We're dealing with a massive scene ... fire, explosions, and just absolute carnage and devastation".

About 40 minutes before the massive accident, a three-car crash had slowed traffic on Highway 400 northbound.

A screenshot image of Google Maps showing the closure on Hwy.

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