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Gardiner cube van fire causes commuter chaos

A fire burns in the back of a van on the Gardiner on March 3, 2014. Courtesy of CityNews viewer Kristina Bozicevic.

A massive fire in the back of a fruit truck on the Gardiner Expressway caused commuter chaos on Monday morning, shutting down the highway and nearby Lake Shore Boulevard for hours.

The Gardiner and the Lake Shore were both shut down in both directions at Jameson Avenue for several hours as firefighters dealt with the blaze.

No injuries have been reported but drivers were frustrated by the slow cleanup.

The fire began in the back of a van on the Gardiner before 7:30 a.m. It was knocked down by 9:30 a.m. but the roads didn’t fully reopen until after 10 a.m.

After the blaze, fruit and vegetables from the back of the cube van — all covered in ash — littered the road.

Fire crews had to run a hose across Lake Shore to battle the flames, 680News reporter Carl Hanstke said. The hydrant was on the south side of the road and multiple lanes of traffic were blocked so that the hose could stretch across to the fire.

While the fire was extinguished quickly, drivers said that no salt was brought in to clear the roads.

“I’ve been stuck about an hour,” driver Ryan Sims said.

“There was no salt to salt the ice! They made a mess and they couldn’t clean it up.”

Another driver, Richard Johnson, said the delay made him two hours late for work.

The following dash-cam video was posted to YouTube shortly after the fire began:

The following photos show the clean-up and the damage caused by the fire:

https://toronto.citynews.ca/files/2014/03/gardinerfire.jpg

Traffic was stopped on the Gardiner on March 3, 2014 after a fire in a van. 680News/Scott Metcalfe.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/files/2014/03/webgardineraftermath.jpg

A fire closed the Gardiner for several hours on March 3, 2014. 680NEWS/Carl Hanstke.      

https://toronto.citynews.ca/files/2014/03/gardinerfire2.jpg

A fire in a cube van closed the Gardiner for several hours on March 3, 2014. 680NEWS/Carl Hanstke.

https://toronto.citynews.ca/files/2014/03/2gardineraftermath.jpg

A fire in a cube van closed the Gardiner for several hours on March 3, 2014. 680NEWS/Carl Hanstke.