After a tanker truck carrying explosive goods caught fire early on Sunday in Philadelphia, an elevated segment of Interstate 95 collapsed, closing a heavily used section of the main north-south road on the East Coast indefinitely, according to authorities.
Transportation authorities advised motorists to stay away from the northeastern region of the city because of significant delays and street closures. According to officials, the tanker may have had hundreds of liters of petrol in a petroleum product. It took nearly an hour to put out the fire.
According to Derek Bowmer, battalion chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department, the northern lanes of I-95 were destroyed, while the southbound lanes were “compromised” by the heat from the fire. Explosions underground were likely triggered by runoff from the fire or possibly damaged gas lines, he added.
According to State Transportation Department spokesman Brad Rudolph, a crash of some kind occurred on a ramp underneath northbound I-95 around 6:15 a.m. As a result, the northbound section above the fire immediately collapsed. Authorities are currently evaluating the severely damaged southbound lanes, as per the statement given by Rudolph.
Gov. Josh Shapiro said at least one vehicle remained buried under the crumbled roads and that he planned to request a disaster declaration on Monday to speed up federal funding.
“We’re currently trying to identify any individual or individuals who may have been caught in the fire and the collapse,” he added. There had been no reports of injuries so far.
A sizable concrete slab that had fallen from I-95 onto the street below was clearly visible in video from the scene of the accident. Shapiro claimed that the region he was flying over had “just remarkable devastation.”
I found myself thanking the Lord that no I-95 drivers were hurt or lost their lives, he stated. Former Philadelphia police sergeant Mark Fusetti claimed to have seen thick, black smoke billowing over the roadway as he was traveling south toward the airport. He claimed that as he passed the fire, the road beneath started to “dip,” forming a considerable depression that could be seen in the video he recorded of the incident.
He noticed a halt in traffic in his rearview mirror. The highway’s northbound lanes collapsed shortly after that. “It was crazy timing,” Fusetti remarked. It’s pretty amazing how soon it gave way and fell apart. According to Rudolph, the $212 million rebuilding project that included the collapsed portion of I-95 was completed four years ago. There was no set date for when the highway will reopen, but he added that officials would look at “a fill-in situation or a temporary structure” to speed up the process.
According to Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Michael Carroll, the I-95 portion is arguably the busiest interstate in the state, carrying about 160,000 vehicles per day. He promised that the collapsed section would be removed as soon as possible and that work would go on all night.
Shapiro claimed to have spoken with Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation for the United States, and to have received assurances that there would be “absolutely no delay” in obtaining federal funding for the speedy reconstruction of what he called a “critical roadway” as securely and effectively as possible.