A major section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia collapsed on Sunday morning after a tanker truck carrying flammable cargo caught fire underneath an elevated overpass. The incident shut down the highway in both directions, causing significant traffic disruptions and environmental concerns.
According to city officials, the fire started around 6:20 a.m. under the northbound lanes of I-95 near the Betsy Ross Bridge. The flames quickly spread and engulfed the tanker truck, which was carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline. The intense heat from the fire caused a large portion of the overpass to collapse, leaving a gaping hole in the roadway.
Firefighters arrived at the scene and battled the blaze for several hours, while also dealing with explosions from fuel or gas lines under the street. No injuries were reported, but authorities said they had not been able to search for the driver of the truck. Smoke billowed from the rubble and could be seen from miles away.
The closure of I-95, the main north-south interstate on the East Coast, had a major impact on the region and the city of Philadelphia. The highway connects the city to its northern suburbs and other states such as New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. It is also a popular route for travelers heading to or from Boston, Baltimore and Washington.
Officials advised drivers to avoid the area and use alternate routes or public transportation. They said it was unclear how long it would take to repair the damage and reopen the highway. They also expressed concern about the potential environmental impact of the fire and the gasoline spill, especially on the nearby Delaware River.
President Joe Biden, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney were briefed on the situation and offered their support and assistance to the local authorities. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he was coordinating with regional leaders for recovery and rebuilding efforts. He also said that the incident highlighted the need for investing in infrastructure and resilience.