Updated: Major crash, spill, forces evacuation of area east of Kingston

Peterborough, ON, Canada / (CHEXTV)
Updated: Major crash, spill, forces evacuation of area east of Kingston

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Updated: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday

A multi-vehicle crash on Hwy 401 east of Kingston left one dead and led to a chemical spill, forcing evacuation of the area and nearby homes.

The accident happened around 2 p.m. March 14 near Gananoque close to the exit to the Thousand Islands. One of the tractor trailers involved spilled a deadly chemical, fluorosilicic acid.

According to Kingston General Hospital, one person was killed in the crash.  The OPP confirmed that was a male drive of one of the tractor-trailers.  Wednesday he was identified as Ian Melville, 45, of Hamilton, and police said his rig was involved in the primary collision.  Twenty-nine patients attended the hospital, including 13 first responders, the hospital said.

On Wednesday, OPP released further details:

“Investigation revealed there were two separate collisions. The primary collision occurred just east of Highway 137 and involved five tractor-trailers and one car. The secondary collision was also westbound, about one kilometer west of the first and involved seven tractor trailers and three vehicles. There were multiple chain reactions after the fact behind those two collisions.”

Police also said that adverse weather conditions including whiteouts may have factored into the pileup.

According to the Centre for Disease Control, fluorosilicic acid can cause immediate and permanent damage to lungs and eyes. A Code Orange was called at Kingston General Hospital to deal with an expected influx of patients who may have come in contact with the chemical.

On Wednesday, emergency crews continued to clean up the toxic spill and the highway remained closed in both directions.

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