Tags: Collapse

Petrol tanker fire triggers I-95 collapse in Philadelphia

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Authorities close important East Coast highway, citing structural concerns after blaze

A significant portion of the I-95 highway in Philadelphia, a critical transport artery on the US East Coast, has caved in following a tanker fire, according to official reports on Sunday.

Despite the dramatic circumstances, there have been no reported deaths or injuries. Yet, officials urged caution, indicating that the situation remains fluid, and further investigations at the scene of the collapse are ongoing.

Heavy smoke was seen emanating from the debris of the collapsed section of I-95’s northbound lanes, an essential interstate stretching from Miami to the Canadian border. The southbound overpass was promptly closed due to structural risks posed by the fire. Pennsylvania Governor, Josh Shapiro, indicated that it could take a “number of months” to completely reconstruct this road section which typically accommodates about 160,000 vehicles daily.

He also added that he would sign a disaster declaration on Monday to secure federal funds and aid for the rebuilding efforts.

Fire fuelled by gasoline tanker

Governor Shapiro revealed that the tanker was transporting a “petroleum product,” which the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) later confirmed as gasoline. The NTSB has dispatched a team to investigate the incident.

Shapiro also acknowledged a “very light sheen” visible in the nearby Delaware River, suggesting some fuel may have seeped into the water. However, immediate measures were taken to contain the spread, and the governor assured, “There is no threat to anyone’s drinking water.”

US President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have been informed about the incident. The White House has extended its assistance to state and local authorities. Secretary Buttigieg warned that the closure of I-95 would bear “significant impacts” on the Philadelphia region.

The I-95 corridor, now impaired, is a key connector for Philadelphia and its northern suburbs. Officials have urged travellers to expect delays and advised them to explore other travel options, including trains, for their commutes.

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