UPDATE: Three people dead after 14 vehicle crash, inferno on Hwy 400

A 14-vehicle crash that created a scene of fiery Armageddon has claimed at least three lives along Hwy 400.

OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt says the crash in the northbound lanes approaching Hwy 89 was triggered by a tanker truck that slammed into vehicles that had slowed for cleanup of a more minor crash about 1 km ahead.

Last Thursday OPP commissioner Vince Hawkes publicly blasted truck drivers for inattentiveness at the wheel and its deadly consequences.

Tuesday night's crash involved two tanker trucks and three transport trucks. The impact sent fireballs and booming explosions into the sky.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt/OPP

"It's unbelievably devastating, " Schmidt told Moore in the Morning. "I have never been to a scene that's been really as graphic and horrific as this in terms of sheer devastation and loss of life and vehicles."

The fire which had roared since about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday was snuffed out at about 2 a.m. Wednesday though firefighters were dousing hot spots as late as 6 a.m.

The flames ate through vehicles into mere skeletons and mounds of melted plastic and rubber. Investigators are still trying to determine if there are more fatalities.

Brian Patterson, President of the Ontario Safety League tells NEWSTALK 1010 Wednesday he wants a coroner's inquest into deadly crashes involving transport trucks.

He says again and again we see questions raised about driver training, truck engineering and design.

"I think the coroner can bring all of those parties to the table in a non-judgemental way and get us a solution to this problem."

Hwy 400 will remain closed between Hwy 88 and Hwy 89 all day for the investigation and cleanup.

You can use 5th Side Rd, Hwy 27 and 15th Side Rd as alternates to the west and 10th Side Rd or Yonge St to the east.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt/OPP