The westbound express lanes of Highway 401 have been reopened at Whites Road in Pickering after a transport truck loaded with fish struck a concrete median and burst into flames early Thursday morning.

The accident happened at around 4 a.m. in the westbound express lanes.

According to Toronto Fire Services, crews encountered heavy flames upon arrival but were able to knock the blaze down by about 4:40 a.m.

Officials spent hours working to unload the contents of the truck before removing the vehicle from the scene.

The westbound lanes were finally reopened at around 3 p.m.

Images from the scene early Thursday morning showed a badly charred transport truck that was missing most of its left side.

“There is no longer any structural integrity when you take the walls away or when they are burnt or damaged so as a result of that you have to fold up that trailer and put it onto a flatbed,” Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CP24 on Thursday morning.

“(The truck) is just a complete mess with the damage it has sustained and it is not as simple as just hooking on a new tractor portion and driving it off the highway.”

The driver of the truck, who was not injured in the accident, has been charged with careless driving.