Philadelphia – Early Sunday morning, a tank truck carrying flammable cargo caught fire in Philadelphia, collapsing an elevated section of Interstate 95.
Officials say rebuilding could take months.
The fire broke out around 6 a.m. under Interstate 95 near the Cotman Avenue exit in the city’s Tacony neighborhood. Fire officials said the blaze was extinguished by Sunday evening.
Gov. Josh Shapiro said Sunday night that he plans to issue a disaster declaration Monday to expedite the release of federal funds, and said at least one vehicle is still under the collapsed road.
“We are continuing to work to identify anyone who may have been involved in the fire or collapse,” he said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
A source told Action News that the tank truck was carrying 8,500 gallons of 87-octane fuel.
“Preliminary reports indicate that a commercial truck carrying an oil-based product started the fire,” Shapiro said. “We are still working to identify individuals who may have been involved in the fire and collapse.”
It is not yet known if the driver was still in the truck when the fire broke out.
A police source told Action News that the truck driver went missing Sunday night.
The man was an experienced driver and likely something happened while exiting the freeway ramp.
The identity of the driver has not yet been released.
Shapiro said at a press conference that the northbound lane had completely collapsed and the southbound lane was unstable.
“As reported, the northbound side of Interstate 95 has completely collapsed and the southbound side is structurally unsound to carry traffic,” Shapiro said.
The highway is closed to all lanes between the Woodhaven Road exit in northeast Philadelphia and Alamingo Avenue in the Port Richmond section.
Officials said an average of 160,000 vehicles traveled on the section of the highway that collapsed each day.
The northbound section averages over 76,000 vehicles per day, while the southbound section averages over 83,000 vehicles per day.
Shapiro said repairs could take time.
“We anticipate that it will take several months,” Mr. Shapiro said. “That’s how long it will take.” “And once the engineers and PennDOT complete a review to expedite this process and cut the friction, we plan to set a concrete timeline for that.”
Speaking directly to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Shapiro said there was “no delay” in quickly obtaining federal funding to rebuild what he called “critical roads” as safely and efficiently as possible. ‘It was guaranteed.
“It smells like burning plastic.”
Smoke seeped through a manhole and an explosion was heard in the area.
“It was a really loud explosion, a little louder than a gunshot,” said Tacony resident Brian Kelly. “He’s almost like an M80. A little firework.”
Everyone is asked to avoid the area.
“It smells like burning plastic mixed with the smell of standing right behind a car with smoke blowing in your face,” said Sierra Jones of Tacony.
Officials said given the extent of the damage, the situation will have long-lasting consequences for the region.
“Today is going to be a long day,” said Dominic Mireles, director of the Philadelphia Emergency Management Agency. rice field.
Thousands of tons of steel and concrete have piled up on top of the fire site, he said, and heavy construction equipment will be needed to begin clearing the debris.
After gloss was reported in the Delaware River near the collapse site, the Coast Guard deployed a boom to contain the material. Second Lieutenant Josh LeDoux said the tanker had a capacity of 8,500 gallons, but the contents did not appear to have diffused into the environment.
“As far as the waterway is concerned, it is contained and things appear to be under control,” he said.
U.S. Coast Guard officials later confirmed that the Delaware River lacked luster, indicating that gasoline was not reaching the river from the trucks.
Officials said there was a bit of sheen in the coves adjacent to the river, but not in the river itself.
This water is safe to use and consume for city dwellers.
“The road is crumbling”
The footage of people driving on Interstate 95 before the collapse is shocking. One woman took the lift at 6:21 a.m. and filmed the video, but about a minute later the road collapsed.
In other videos you can see the road starting to bend.
One of those videos was shot by Lisa Taormino of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. She said she was on her way to work and it was too late when she noticed smoke and flames on the highway.
She was surrounded and the car tumbled onto the road.
“Beyond all this black smoke, you can see flames coming up from the right side…and it was even worse on the left side,” she said. “But the car in front of me was pretty depressed.”
“Oh my God, the road is crumbling,” Taormino heard as he passed the scene.
Former Philadelphia Police Sergeant Mark Fusetti said he was driving south toward the city’s airport when he noticed thick black smoke billowing over the highway.
As he passed by the fire, the road beneath it began to “sink”, leaving visible potholes. the video he took of the sceneHe said.
He saw traffic stop in his rear-view mirror. Shortly after, the northbound lane of the highway collapsed.
“It was crazy timing,” Fusetti said. “It’s pretty amazing how quickly it buckles and collapses.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a Twitter post that President Joe Biden was briefed on the collapse and that White House officials had asked Shapiro and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny to offer their support. He said he was in contact with his office. In a social media post, Buttigieg called the bridge “a major artery for people and goods,” and said the closure would have “significant impacts on the city and community until reconstruction and recovery is complete.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said it would send a team to investigate the fire and collapse.
Most drivers traveling on Interstate 95 between Delaware and New York City will take the New Jersey Turnpike instead of the section of Interstate where the collapse occurred. Until 2018, drivers were not allowed a direct highway connection between I-95 in Pennsylvania and I-95 in New Jersey. To get from one place to another, we had to use several miles of ground roads with traffic lights.
Federal Highway Administrator Shailene Butt is scheduled to travel to Philadelphia on Monday to provide federal support and assistance after the partial collapse.
“The Interstate 95 corridor is a critical connection for people and goods traveling along the East Coast, and FHWA is working with state and local officials to safely reopen this section of Interstate 95 as soon as possible.” We have provided support and assistance to make it possible,” he said. a spokesperson said in a statement.
Diverts Interstate 95 and collapses in Philadelphia
The Pennsylvania State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have established the following detours around the Interstate 95 collapse.
- Route 63 West (Woodhaven Road), US 1 South, 76 East, 676 East
- I-676 West, I-76 West, US 1 North to Route 63 East (Woodhaven Road)
State authorities launched Websites that provide updates About highway renovations and detours.
SEPTA officials said Sunday that additional capacity will be added to the service following the collapse of the highway.
“We are increasing capacity on the Trenton, West Trenton and Fox Chase Lines, which means adding more cars to our scheduled trains so that equipment and personnel can be reused and transported to the Trenton Line. In addition, we plan to bus the Sinwid Line,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards.
SEPTA plans to run three additional trains on the Trenton Line during the morning and evening rush hours on Monday, people familiar with the matter said.
In the morning, these trains depart Trenton at 6:40am and 8:03am, plus an 8:25am train from Holmesburg Junction.
In the evening, trains run from Suburban Station to Holmesburg Junction at 3:05 PM and to Trenton at 4:30 PM and 5:20 PM.
“Thanks to our partners at the Philadelphia Parking Authority, we will have free parking at our three Park and Ride lots in Fern Rock, Fox Chase and Torresdale,” Richards added. . “There is also free parking and all his SEPTA’s own regional rail parking lot, as well as the Frankford Transit Center for access to the Market-Frankford line.”
For more information on the expanded SEPTA service, please visit click here.
garbage & Recycle Collection
City officials are asking residents to continue picking up trash and recycling at regular trash days and regular collection points.
Officials warned some residents of northeastern Philadelphia that recovery could be delayed.
The City Roads Authority said it was investigating the impact of the collapse on sanitation trucks operating in the area. Some tracks may be changed to another driving route.
Officials are urging people to check the ministry’s Twitter page for updates and more information.
Similarities to the 1996 Philadelphia Interstate 95 Fire
This fire was strikingly similar to another fire in Philadelphia in March 1996. This time, an illegal tire dump under Interstate 95 caught fire, melting guardrails and buckling sidewalks.
The highway was closed for weeks and was partially blocked for six months.
Seven teenagers were charged with arson, and the dump owner was sentenced to seven to 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $3 million out of a $6.5 million repair bill. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported..
Most recently in Atlanta, a massive fire destroyed a section of Interstate 85 overpass in March 2017, closing a busy route through the city center. A homeless man has been accused of starting the fire, federal investigators said in their report. The DOT’s practice of storing flammable construction materials under highways increased the risk of fire.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://abc7ny.com/interstate-95-collapse-i-95-fire-philly-overpass-tanker/13368736/ Interstate 95 Collapse in Philadelphia: Tanker Fire Burns Underpass, Damages Part of Tacony Section of Freeway