PHILADELPHIA- According to city and federal officials, a tanker truck carrying gasoline caught fire underneath an overpass, causing a part of a crucial highway on the East Coast of the United States to collapse in Philadelphia.
In a statement, city officials said that no injuries were recorded.
I-95, the primary north-south highway on the East Coast, which runs from Miami in the south north via Washington and New York until ending at the Canadian border in the state of Maine, has a collapsed piece of the northbound lanes that was producing smoke.
A large portion of the burned-out, collapsed overpass was visible in the distance, with rescue vehicles and personnel gathered around. Concerns regarding the structural soundness of the remaining southbound lanes led to the suspension of traffic in both directions on the eight-lane motorway.
On Sunday, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it would dispatch a team to look into what it described as a fire on a gasoline tanker truck and the overpass’s collapse.
According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, U.S. President Joe Biden was informed of the collapse and the White House has extended help to state and local governments.
The closure of I-95, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, will have “significant impacts” on the area and Philadelphia. Buttigieg claimed on Twitter that he was coordinating relief and reconstruction operations with local authorities.
This part of I-95 connects Philadelphia to its northern suburbs, including Bucks County, and is located in the congested northeast region of the city.
It is frequently used by beachgoers returning from the Jersey Shore on a Sunday in the summer. Commuters and vehicles heading to Boston, Baltimore, and Washington clog it up during the workweek.
According to Philadelphia Fire Battalion Chief Derek Bowmer, firefighters were battling a sizable fire that was coming from a car.
“We tried to extinguish the fire. … We did upgrade it to a hazmat box because we got reports that it could have been a tanker or something like that,” he said.
For “a while,” Bowmer said, crews will be working to see whether any fuel or gas lines may have been harmed in the crash.
Due to the incident’s proximity to the Delaware River, according to Dominick Mireles, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, officials were worried about how the mishap may affect the ecosystem.
“Today is going to be a long day,” he said, adding that recovery efforts are likely to take time.
Officials advised travellers to plan for delays and urged them to use public transportation and alternative routes for their commutes.