One person is dead after 'highly toxic' chemical spill closes Hwy 401
OPP have identified a Hamilton man as the truck driver who died in a collision involving a “highly toxic” chemical spill which closed Hwy. 401 in both directions east of Kingston Tuesday.
Ian Meville, 45, of Hamilton was the transport truck driver who died of his injuries after the crash, OPP said Wednesday. Meville was driving the same tractor trailer that the chemical came from. It's not clear if Meville died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash or exposure to hazardous material.
The collision happened around 2 p.m. near Lansdowne on Tuesday on the westbound highway and involved up to 30 vehicles.
Matt Morris was driving in his truck talking to his daughter on Bluetooth when the carnage started.
"I hit my brakes and got my vehicle stopped as the four transports in front of me collided, piling up on each other," he says.
OPP said the primary collision involved five tractor trailers and one car. A secondary collision involved seven tractor trailers and three cars. There were several chain reactions behind those two collisions.
Both east and westbound 401 remain closed for the investigation and removal of vehicles from the scene. Detours remain in place westbound at Mallorytown, and eastbound at Reynolds Road.
34 people, including 18 first responders, were taken to Kingston General Hospital for decontamination from possible exposure to the toxic chemial. The hospital declared a Code Orange, which indicates an external disaster with mass casualties.
According to the Leeds Fire Dept., the hazardous material turns into hydrofluoric acid if exposed to heat. Hydrofluoric acid is a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes.
OPP said in a release that the area was being evacuated "as a precaution" because one of the transport trucks involved was leaking a toxic substance.
A report on KingstonRegion.com said a number of people at the scene were exposed to the hazardous material. The transport was carrying 14,000 litres of the liquid, most of which has leaked, the report said.
After a lengthy cleanup process, both eastbound and westbound lanes of the 401 were reopened to traffic Wednesday evening.