One dead after multiple transport collision, chemical spill on Highway 401
Mar 17, 2017, 01:20
The second collision was also westbound, about one kilometre away from the first, and involved seven tractor trailers and three vehicles.
Kingston General Hospital declared a Code Orange (Mass Casualty Event) late Tuesday afternoon due to the large influx of patients from the collision scene being brought in for treatment. The driver of one of the trucks was taken to hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
At least 10 of the patients were first responders, who underwent decontamination and were held for observation as a precaution.
Police said one of the transport trucks involved in the collisions was leaking a toxic substance, prompting the evacuation of the immediate area around it.
It's not yet clear whether any of the spilled material was converted into the more hazardous chemical.
"Chemical has spilled on roadway and is highly toxic", the nearby Gananoque Police Service posted on its Facebook account.
The Ontario Provincial Police indicated that the pile-up involved cars and about a dozen trucks, including heavy goods vehicles. Numerous vehicles involved still haven't been removed from the scene.
"There were multiple chain reactions after the fact behind those two collisions", Barr said in a news release.
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The toxic substance was later identified as fluorosilicic acid, according to a statement from Kingston General Hospital.
The first responders who came to the driver's aid were sent to hospital for decontamination, she added.
While cleanup efforts are underway, officials said there is no estimate yet for when the highway will reopen.
The Code Orange was over as of 8:00 p.m.as the influx of patients has slowed down and the emergency department resumed normal operations.
According to witnesses' postings on social media accounts, emergency vehicles and fire rescue trucks were being used to transport victims who had been exposed to the hazardous substance to an impromptu decontamination centre established at the Township of Leeds and the Thousands Islands' (TLTI) fire station in Lansdowne.
Highway 401 is closed in both directions around the crash site as the investigation continues.
The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and clean-up crews have arrived on site to remediate the area from the chemical spill.
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