(PHILADELPHIA) — A portion of Interstate 95 has collapsed in Philadelphia following a large vehicle fire, according to authorities.
Emergency dispatchers received a call for an accident response on the off-ramp of I-95 at 6:22 a.m. on Sunday, Philadelphia Fire Battalion Chief Derek Bowmer said Sunday. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found heavy fire from a vehicle underneath the I-95 overpass, Bowmer said.
The highway is completely collapsed on the northbound lanes, while the southbound lanes are compromised, Bowmer said.
The incident was then upgraded to a hazmat situation, Bowmer said. Crews have extinguished the fire, but there is some runoff from possible fuel or gas lines. The cause of the fire is unknown, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told ABC News.
The accident occurred between Exit 32 for Academy Road and Exit 30 for Cottman Avenue in the Tacony section of Philadelphia, ABC Philadelphia station WPVI reported.
All northbound lanes between Exit 25 at Allegheny Avenue and Castor Avenue and Exit 32 at Academy Road and Linden Avenue are currently shut down, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Southbound lanes between Exit 32 and Exit 30 at Cottman Avenue and Rhawn Street are also closed.
That portion of I-95 is expected to remain shut down for an extended period of time, according to the DHS. The southbound overpass is in critical condition, according to the Pennsylvania DOT.
The fire was so big it had overtaken both northbound and southbound lanes on the highway, witness Lisa Taormino, who was commuting southbound on I-95 about 20 minutes before it collapsed, told ABC News.
Video taken by Taormino, and posted to social media, showed flames and smoke billowing from the northbound lane into the southbound.
“It wasn’t until I reached the bridge part that it was starting to be compromised and the structure wasn’t as sound as it should have been,” Taormino said. “There was another car behind me that looked like it was going to back up instead of traveling across the bridge.”
Other videos posted to social media show large plumes of dark smoke hanging over the highway.
There is no information on any injuries or occupants involved in the vehicle fire, Bowmer said.
Multiple agencies are involved in the response to the crash, with some expressing concern regarding the runoff due to the proximity to the Delaware River. Health officials will determine the environmental impact.
Department of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro issued statements saying that they are closely monitoring the accident.
The collapse will have “significant impacts” on the city and region until reconstruction is complete, Buttigieg wrote in a later tweet.
“This is a major artery for people and goods, and the closure will have significant impacts on the city and region until reconstruction and recovery are complete,” Buttigieg tweeted. “Our department will be there with support throughout the process of I-95 returning to normal.”
Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt will travel to Philadelphia on Monday to offer federal support and assistance.
“The I-95 corridor is a vital connection for people and goods traveling along the East Coast, and FHWA has offered support and assistance to state and local officials to help them safely reopen this section of I-95 as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for the FHA said in a statement.
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