Two people pronounced dead after collision on Highway 407 in Vaughan

Two men in their 40s have been pronounced dead at the scene of a fiery collision on Highway 407 in Vaughan.

Ontario Provincial Police said a tanker truck and another vehicle collided on the highway, near Keele Street, at around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Schmidt on Thursday morning said both vehicles were travelling westbound when the truck swerved into the concrete median, taking it and the other vehicle into the eastbound side. The collision caused a fire and \”significant\” damage to the highway, OPP said.

The drivers of both vehicles, a 41-year-old man from Brampton and a 49-year-old man from Mississauga, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their identities have not yet been released.

Because there is no water supply on the highway and fire trucks can only hold two to three minutes worth of water at a time, trucks picking up water, dropping it off and reloading provided a continuous source of water to fight the fire, she said.

The eastbound and westbound lanes of the highway have been blocked off between Dufferin and Jane streets as emergency crews respond to the incident.

Correction — Nov. 1, 2018: This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly said that Andrew Zvanitajs is a deputy fire chief with York Region. In fact, Zvanitajs is a deputy fire chief with Vaughan Fire and Rescue Service.

It looks like there were only two vehicles involved – the fuel tanker truck and another passenger vehicle, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CP24 from the scene.

For about two hours after the crash took place, the tanker truck remained fully engulfed in flames and heavy black smoke could be seen from quite a distance.

Robert Kostiuk, said he was driving down the route, which he takes every day, when he saw the truck go from being straight on the right lane, to suddenly turning perpendicular and flipping over the concrete barrier on the highway.

It does appear that this collision was a crossover-type of collision, which is surprising on a highway that has concrete walls but you can see the damage and you can see the vehicles travel and obviously that is going to be part of the investigation, Schmidt said.

Witnesses have been reporting that a large vehicle went from the westbound lanes onto the eastbound sides and then caused a collision.

The City of Vaughan said the tanker truck was transporting a flammable liquid and caught fire.

A fuel tanker crashed through a concrete barrier on Highway 407 flipping over and careening into oncoming traffic, killing two and filling the sky with fire and a plume of smoke on Halloween night.

The investigators are on scene right now and as I was approaching the scene shortly after the collision took place, the sky was clear, there was no precipitation, the roads were dry, visibility wasnt a factor so were going to be looking at all issues – whether or not it was human error, whether or not it was mechanical defect that may have contributed to the collision, he said.

In the first half of 2018, the OPP responded to 33 fatal collisions involving transport trucks, a 38 per cent increase over last year. A total of 41 people died in those collisions.

The collision vehicles are now in the eastbound lanes but there is significant evidence on the westbound side and thats why we have both directions of the highway shut down right now.

The two victims were the driver of the tanker and the motorist in the other vehicle involved in the collision, OPP spokesperson Kerry Schmidt, said in a video posted to Twitter.

A spokesperson with York Region, Jennifer Mitchell, told CP24 in an email that three ambulances, a multi-patient unit bus, one platoon lead and one special response unit responded to the scene.

Kostiuk said he pulled over to call 911, who told him they had already received several calls about the accident, and then he drove away, as the fire grew bigger.

As media reports unfold, our thoughts and prayer are with those impacted by the devastating accident on Highway 407, he wrote. We are grateful for the effort of our first responders battling the flames and bringing order to the situation.

Vaughan Fire Chief Deryn Rizzi described the crash as a \”tragic incident\” while Deputy Chief Grant Moffatt said the extent of the fire was staggering.

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

\”There was no in-between, there was no kind of swerving over,\” he said. \”It was a 90-degree turn but still at full speed it looked like.\”

The scene of a vehicle rollover on Highway 407 in Vaughan is seen in this image submitted by a CP24 viewer on Twitter. (@blunt_object)

The tanker, which Schmidt said was transporting diesel fuel, released a plume of smoke about three kilometres long and a kilometre wide.

One of the two men killed in a fiery crash in Vaughan on Highway 407 on Wednesday has been identified as a 41-year-old father of five from Brampton.

\”When I was passing by you could feel the heat inside of your vehicle, thats how intense the fire was — it was a fireball.\”

Adan, who was driving the tanker truck, and an unidentified 49-year-old male driver of a passenger vehicle were both pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which police have called a "crossover-type of collision."

The truck driver was a 41-year-old man from Brampton who collided into a 49-year old male driver from Mississauga, he said.

The passenger vehicle was swept up by the tanker truck that abruptly veered across Highway 407 during rush hour, Ontario Provincial Police said Thursday.

As terrible as the collision was, it was fortunate nobody else on the busy highway was hurt or killed, Schmidt said.

For reasons now under investigation, the truck veered across several lanes of traffic, swiping a driver travelling next to it, before barreling into the median.

The fuel tanker somehow lost control and veered across all lanes, from the right side to the left, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said Thursday.

Schmidt described the truck as crossing over from the westbound lane to the eastbound side, crashing into an oncoming vehicle in the eastbound lanes. The collision caused a fire and “significant” damage to the highway, OPP said.

It swept up this other vehicle that was travelling next to it, pushing it into the guardrail, pushing it up over the guardrail, and they both ended up on the eastbound side.

Previously, police thought the passenger vehicle involved in the collision was travelling on the opposite side of the highway. The investigation has since determined otherwise, Schmidt said.

In fact, both vehicles — the fuel tanker as well as the other passenger vehicle — were both traveling westbound, he said.

Schmidt said around 9:30 p.m. on social media that he expects the westbound lane to reopen in several hours and the eastbound lane to be open before the morning rush hour, but with some lane restrictions.

Thick black plumes of smoke billowed from the crash site and drifted throughout the Dufferin and Keele streets area.

It is a miracle that there were no other injuries or fatalities, Schmidt said in the aftermath Wednesday.

In the first half of 2018, the OPP responded to 33 fatal collisions involving transport trucks, a 38 per cent increase over last year. A total of 41 people died in those collisions.

This couldve been far more significant based on the fireball that we saw exploding, even as I arrived.

The two victims were the driver of the tanker and the motorist in the other vehicle involved in the collision, OPP spokesperson Kerry Schmidt, said in a video posted to Twitter.

A number of emergency crews were called to the chaotic scene, and it took several hours for Vaughan Fire Services to put out the blaze.

Kostiuk said he pulled over to call 911, who told him they had already received several calls about the accident, and then he drove away, as the fire grew bigger.

The situation forced police to close a stretch of both the east and westbound lanes, leaving many motorists stranded on the highway for hours.

The clean-up and investigation stretched well into the evening. The roadway was badly damaged, Schmidt said, and needed to be repaved.

Vaughan Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Zvanitajs said around 6:30 p.m. the fire was under control, with 30 firefighters on scene responding to the 3-alarm fire.

You can still see the blackened, scorched concrete wall. Half of it is pitted all out from the damage, Schmidt said. The highway has been resurfaced. Theyre just cleaning up some of the remaining diesel that spilled out of the fuel tanker to the environment below. That work is still going on.

Robert Kostiuk was heading home from work, a short distance behind the truck, when the crash unfolded.

Ontario Provincial Police said they responded to a collision involving two vehicles on Highway 407 between Dufferin and Keele streets.

I was talking with my friend on the phone when all of a sudden I saw the truck go perpendicular to the way our traffic was going, he told CTV News Toronto.

While the investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing, Brian Patterson of the Ontario Safety League said the company operating the tanker truck, 4Refuel, has a good record.

Westbound lanes on the highway have reopened, but eastbound lanes and ramps from Hwy. 400 to Hwy. 407 remained closed early Nov. 1.

To carry fuel, you require skilled drivers and your insurance would be in the highest bracket. So youre doing everything to reduce your insurance, whether its additional training for drivers, screening mechanical issues, Patterson told CTV News Toronto.

Schmidt, meanwhile, said officers are looking at a mechanical defect as the primary factor behind the crash.

“The collision is massive, the fire is still burning,” Schmidt said on social media around 6 p.m.

Maybe it was a tire failure, a deflation, a suspension issue that may have caused the vehicle to pull to the right, he said.

I have seen these in the past, where you lose a steering axle or a tire, that amount of drag can pull the truck over immediately without any response from driver. Youre just not able to control vehicles when you lose steering axle. Its something were looking into, we havent concluded that yet.

Patterson renewed his calls for a coroners review into fatal crashes involving transport trucks on the provinces 400-series highways.

The Ontario Safety League first put out the request one year ago today, in the aftermath of a devastating crash on Highway 400 near Barrie.

Patterson said he hopes the coroner could advise the government on best practices to prevent future highway crashes involving commercial vehicles.

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