At least two people were reported dead Wednesday after fourteen vehicles were involved in a massive pileup that led to explosions and a fire north of Toronto, according to Canadian police. Two of the vehicles involved were fuel tankers.
The crash occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, according to the CBC.
Ontario Provincial Police said two fully loaded fuel tanker trucks and three transport trucks were involved in the collision around 11:30 p.m. ET Tuesday in the northbound lanes near Cookstown. A series of “explosions” followed the initial crash, witnesses at the scene told CBC Toronto.
“A massive fire consumed nearly all the vehicles involved,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt.
“There are multiple fatalities,” he said, noting only two deaths have been confirmed but the victims have not been identified.
Video taken at the scene showed flames shooting into the sky. The crash occurred on Highway 400, about 50 miles north of Toronto. Officials said that the highway would be closed Wednesday as authorities continue to look for victims and investigate the disaster.
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.
The fire at the bigger crash burned for nearly three hours before responders could get it contained. From the CBC:
Vincent Di Pinto, another witness, had just left work at York University and was headed north on the highway when he saw “a large transport slam nose-first” into the back of another large truck that was transporting cars.
“After that I heard some popping sounds, and then a loud explosion ... I got out and looked and it was just explosions, one explosion after another and orange flames that were starting to go up into the sky.”
Schmidt, the Ontario police spokesman, compared the initial scene to “Armageddon,” telling the CBC that it was “something I have never seen in my life.”