Two people were killed in a multi-vehicle crash that sparked a massive tanker fire on Highway 407 at the height of the evening rush hour Wednesday.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says shortly before 5 p.m., a truck going west veered to the left, crossing all lanes and taking a car with it. It then struck the concrete barrier and ended up in the eastbound lanes, where it burst into flames.
Schmidt says the massive fire consumed both vehicles and both drivers were declared deceased at the scene.
Late Wednesday, the victims were identified as a 41-year-old truck driver from Brampton and a 49-year-old man from Mississauga.
680 NEWS traffic specialist Darryl Dahmer described the blaze as a “major fireball” with flames shooting up about 30 to 40 feet and smoke climbing 2,000 feet into the air.
LISTEN TO 680 NEWS TRAFFIC SPECIALIST DARRYL DAHMER DESCRIBE THE FIRE FROM SKYMASTER ONE.
“When our firefighters arrived, they weren’t able to get close to it because of the heat coming off of it,” Deputy Chief Andrew Zvanitajs with the Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press.
“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.
Schmidt told CityNews the fire took place on a bridge deck atop the west Don River and an investigation will be undertaken to determine if the structural integrity of the bridge and roadway was compromised in any way by the intense heat of the fire and the crash.
The westbound and eastbound lanes were closed but have since reopened.
Wednesday’s crash came exactly one year after a 14-vehicle fireball on Highway 400 south of Barrie that claimed the lives of three people including a father of nine from North Bay.
CORRECTION: Police originally said the truck struck a car in the eastbound lanes after going over the concrete median.
With files from The Canadian Press