401 Still Closed Near Gananoque due to Deadly Collision

The 401 near Gananoque remains closed following Tuesday's deadly multi-vehicle collision and hazardous chemical spill.

OPP say they expect the 401 between Mallorytown Road and Reynolds Road to fully re-open at some point on Wednesday, but an exact time is still unknown.

“The Emergency Response Action Plan has been reviewed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change as well as Hazmat officials and its implementation will be monitored through the day based on current situational analysis” says Township of Leeds Mayor, Joe Baptista.

“Once again we reinforce that there is no immediate danger to the public and that the site is contained.”

You are asked to avoid the area and allow extra travel time for weather conditions and busy detour routes.

Two seperate collisions on the highway are responsible for the closure, the cause of which at this time is attributed to blowing snow and slick roads.

OPP Constable Sandra Barr says the first collision occurred around 2:00 p.m. and involved five tractor trailers and a car.

The second collision happened about one kilometre away and involved seven tractor trailers and three vehicles that triggered several additional chain reaction collisions.

Police say one of the transports involved in the crash began leaking a toxic substance, reported to be fluorosilicic acid.

This acid, among other applications, is used to etch glass.

Exposure to the acid can cause skin irritations as well as nose, throat, eyes, and lung irritation.

The chemical spill was contained by 5:15 p.m, but a 50 metre safety perimeter has been established around the scene.

OPP say seven fireman, three police officers, paramedics and 17 civilians were treated as precautionary measure after being exposed to the chemical.

In total, 29 people were rushed to Kingston General Hospital to be treated and held for observation.

A code Orange was called at KGH shortly after 4:00 p.m. to prepare for an influx of patients from the crash, which in this case could have meant a mass casualty event involving a hazardous spill.

The code ended around 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night.

The driver of the truck carrying the hazardous materials was among those sent to hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Some patients were discharged on Tuesday night, however it remains unclear how many were still being treated at KGH as of Wednesday morning.