Kerry Schmidt says that two fuel tanker trucks and at least three transport trucks were involved in the fiery crash, which happened in the northbound lanes south of Barrie, Ont.
The OPP are investigating a multi-fatality, multi-vehicle collision on Highway 400 that sent a massive fireball and numerous explosions into the sky.
Schmidt said in an interview that first responders were shocked once they laid eyes on the crash site.
"People were running for their lives to not be encompassed by the moving fire that was on the highway", he said. "Twisted transport trucks, destroyed vehicles, metal that is unrecognizable as to whether or not it is a vehicle at all or not".
Firefighters let the fuel burn itself out for two and a half hours before tackling any remaining hot spots, Schmidt said. The northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 400 are now closed and police have said these closures will be in effect for most of the day.
Several people were rushed to hospital but their injuries are not life-threatening.
Heavy traffic from that collision likely set the scene for the more major accident, he said.More news: Starbucks' new holiday cups feature festive doodles, Christmas trees
"For a collision of this significance, it would appear that it was a transport truck that came in and launched this chain reaction", Schmidt said. "400) up at Highway 9", Schmidt said.
The crash involved five commercial vehicles including two fully loaded fuel tankers.
Given the surge in fatal wrecks, many eerily similar to the one Tuesday night, Ontario Safety League President and CEO Brian Patterson said it may be time for a coroner's inquest.
"We still don't even have a confirmed count", he said. Police expect the road to be closed for most of the day Wednesday.
Hawkes said that collisions involving transport trucks only represent about 12 per cent of crashes on Ontario highways but account for 25 per cent of all fatalities.
"It was absolute carnage and devastation across the northbound lanes between Hwy".
This video, taken by an onlooker on Highway 400 between Highways 88 and 89 near Bradford West Gwillimbury, showed flames erupting from the scene.