Photo: Philadelphia OEM @PhilaOEM / Courtesy
A bridge on Interstate 95 near Philadelphia collapsed Sunday after a large vehicle caught fire under it.causing a dense black smoke and the closure of that road in both directions.
Local televisions showed images of what happened: a large column of black smoke and a part of the road burned with melted iron and smoked cement due to the intensity of the fire.
The incident occurred near the city of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) and for now local authorities believe that the collapse has not caused any injuriesDerek Bowmer, captain of the Philadelphia fire department, said at a press conference.
According to Bowmer, Philadelphia emergency teams responded to the fire around 6:30 a.m. local time (10:30 GMT) and quickly realized that the fire was coming from a large burning vehicle that was located under the highway.
Initially, local media reported that it was a tanker truck, but local authorities did not confirm it.
Bowmer explained that the vehicle fire may have touched gas lines that run below groundwhich has caused small explosions and fires around the highway.
All lanes of the highway are closed between the Woodhaven and Aramingo exits, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management said in a tweet Sunday morning.
Authorities have urged drivers to avoid the road, which will remain closed to traffic for some time.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, said on Twitter that he has been informed of what happened and indicated that it is coordinating with the authorities of the neighboring state of New Jersey and with the federal government to respond to the situation.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted that he is “closely monitoring” the situation and coordinating the response with officials.
“I have been in contact with [la Administración Federal de Carreteras] and spoke to Governor Shapiro to offer any assistance USDOT can provide to help with recovery and rebuilding,” he tweeted.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also monitoring the situation and collecting information.
Philadelphia emergency services director Dominick Mireles expressed concern about the possible “environmental impact” that there may be in the Delaware Riverwhich flows parallel to the damaged part of the highway.
Philadelphia’s water quality department, which depends on the Delaware River, said Sunday on Twitter that it is monitoring the situation and there have been no negative impacts.
Brendan Boyle, one of the congressmen representing Pennsylvania in the US Congress, said in an interview on CNN that the repair works could last “months”.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has been informed of the event and members of his team have been in contact with the governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, and with the mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, to offer them help, said on Twitter the White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.
damaged road, Interstate 95 (I-95), serves as a link between major cities on the US East Coast and is used by millions of Americans every day.
The highway, with a length of 3,096 kilometers, runs from Miami (Florida) to the border between the state of Maine (USA) and the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
With information from EFE