Multiple people dead following collision, explosion on Highway 400

At least 14 vehicles were involved in the collision

Police said at least two fuel tankers and a number of other transport trucks were involved in the accident.

The OPP are investigating a multi-fatality, multi-vehicle collision on Highway 400 that sent a massive fireball and numerous explosions into the sky.

"People were running for their lives to not be encompassed by the moving fire that was on the highway", he said.

Drivers who were stopped nearby were forced to run from their vehicles as the fire and explosions intensified, motorist Robert Bianchi told the broadcaster.

Firefighters let the fuel burn itself out before tackling any remaining hot spots and are still at the scene, Schmidt said.

The cause of the collision is still under investigation, but Schmidt said the initial reports indicate that a transport truck may have collided into slowing traffic. At County Road 89, traffic will be directed back to Highway 400 northbound.

Schmidt said there were "more than two" fatalities and several people were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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Members of the OPP's emergency response team are now on scene searching the charred vehicles and Schmidt said that forensics officials will likely help with the identification of victims.

"It would appear that it was a transport truck that came in and launched this chain reaction collision". Police expect the road to be closed for most of the day Wednesday.

"So, I don't know how much is in the environment, but I know there will be a considerable amount of fuel in the environment", said Schmidt.

He conceded that some trucking companies are spending "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on improving safety in their fleet but he said that clearly there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

About 40 minutes before the pileup, a separate accident occurred on Highway 400 not far away, causing traffic slowdowns which authorities said might have led to the bigger crash. "We're dealing with a massive scene ... fire, explosions, and just absolute carnage and devastation".

"As the fuel was flowing out of the trailers, which was split wide open, the fire was rolling down the highway and that's why we initially closed the highway up at Highway 9", Schmidt said.

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

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