Hwy. 401 truck fire sends flames, black smoke into the sky

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A tractor-trailer lies in ruin following a fire on Highway 401 in Cornwall Thursday.

CORNWALL, Ontario - A spectacular fire on Highway 401 that consumed a tractor-trailer created a traffic nightmare in north end Cornwall Thursday.

The fire, which occured at around 5:15 p.m., sent thick, black smoke billowing into the sky above Cornwall.

At the scene massive flames shot from the transport. Cornwall firefighters had to head out onto Highway 401 to douse the fire.

Witnesses at the scene told Seaway News it appeared as though the transport had entered the ditch.

Eastbound traffic on the highway was rerouted in the oppostice direction at the McConnell Avenue on-ramp in order to clear the busy thoroughfare of vehicles.

In the meantime a traffic nightmare was created on McConnell Avenue at the on-ramp as rubber-neckers and commuters tried to navigate the area.

The driver of the tractor-trailer sustained minor injuries but was not hospitalized.

People lined both sides of the 401, as well as a dead-end stretch of road on the south side of the highway, trying to get a glimpse of the fire.

Police closed access to the eastbound lanes, though westbound lanes were open for a time before being shuttered as well.

It's unknown what caused the fire. The tractor-trailer was not transporting hazardous material.

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, McConnell Avenue

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  • PeterHill
    April 17, 2014 - 23:49

    The truck fire was unfortunate. However, if the fire started at around 5 pm, why could the police not help to redirect the traffic rather than just sitting in their cruisers with the lights flashing? The traffic tie up was horrendous! I got there at 8:30 pm and was stuck for an hour before finding an alternate north of 401 on my own. The authorities could have provided two or three detours that would have prevented the chaos and the waste of time, especially for the many trucks on 401. Still in disbelief!

  • Josip
    April 17, 2014 - 18:53

    Transport never entered the ditch was on the shoulder and there is also fire that had been spread into the treeline crew is controlling the transport fire as the other works on the sarounding trees