PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A large vehicle fire under an elevated section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia caused a huge portion of the interstate to collapse, closing the highway in both directions, authorities said.
Video from the scene showed a massive slab covering an entire section of the northbound lanes collapsed onto the surface roadway in northeast Philadelphia. Officials said there were no immediate reports of injuries.
Capt. Derek Bowmer of the Philadelphia fire department said emergency crews responding shortly before 6:30 a.m. Sunday to an accident report found heavy fire from a vehicle or vehicles. Early reports indicated that the vehicle may have been a tanker truck, but officials said that hadn’t yet been confirmed. The fire was reported to be under control.
Bowmer said the northbound lanes were gone and the southbound lanes were “compromised” due to heat from the fire. He also said runoff from the fire or perhaps compromised gas lines were causing explosions underground. Officials said they were also concerned about the environmental impacts of runoff into the nearby Delaware River.
“Today’s going to be a long day. And obviously, with 95 northbound gone and southbound questionable, it’s going to be even longer than that,” said Dominick Mireles, director of Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management. Heavy construction equipment would be required to start to remove the debris, he said.
The emergency management office said other streets were closed for the response and urged people to avoid the area. They also said they planned to launch a drone to assess the damage.