‘The roadway is gone’: Truck fire under highway I-95 in Philadelphia causes road to collapse

A truck fire under an on-ramp for the I-95 highway near Philadelphia has led to the roadway partially collapsing and traffic being shut down.

The highway was closed by the authorities early on Sunday, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia.

Officials were at the scene of the incident looking into the state of the highway. The authorities said that the northbound roadway collapsed before 8am on Sunday and that the southbound roadway is “compromised”.

“The roadway is gone,” officials told NBC10. The truck was seen covered in concrete and debris from the roadway.

It was initially reported that the vehicle was a tanker truck, but officials have not been able to confirm what kind of truck it is since they haven’t been able to get close enough to look for the driver of the vehicle.

Shortly before 7am, smoke and fire were seen coming from the burning truck close to the I-95 on-ramp at Cottman Avenue. At around 7am, police vehicles began blocking traffic from entering the northbound lanes of the highway at the exit near Aramingo Avenue.

It remains unclear what caused the fire and no injuries have yet been reported.

I-95 collapse: All lanes shut as large fire causes parts of interstate to fall

Steve Keeley of Fox 29 Philadelphia tweeted at 7.34am on Sunday that “95 Shutdown in BOTH directions near Cottman Ave Exit in Northeast Philadelphia. A truck fire in the underpass beneath the highway caused part of 95 to collapse”.

“You can see where the Northbound section of 95 is now gone. The lanes collapsed in from the truck fire underneath. No doubt this section of the major east coast highway will be closed for many days to be repaired,” he added shortly before 8am.

Sgt Mark Fusetti drove past the incident before the roadway was shut down, tweeting that his vehicle dipped down on the highway because the “road was collapsing”.

On Sunday morning, shortly before 9am, Captain Derrick Bowmer of the Philadelphia Fire Department said that the runoff from the burning truck is also leading to underground explosions.

“We will be here for a while,” he said, according to NBC10. “We have fire coming out of those manholes.”

He added that drivers should avoid the area as it will be some time before the roads open back up.

The governor of Pennsylvania, Democrat Josh Shapiro, said on Sunday morning that he had been briefed on the collapse.

“For now, please avoid the area and follow the direction of the first responders on the scene,” Mr Shapiro said in a statement.

The truck was covered by concrete and road debris on Sunday morning.

The AP noted the similarity to a March 1996 blaze in the city when there was a fire at an illegal tire dump under the interstate, leading to the guard rails melting and the pavement buckling.

The highway was closed for a number of weeks and it was partially shut down for six months. Seven teens were later charged with arson and the owner of the dump was sentenced to between seven and 14 years in prison to ordered to pay $3m out of the total $6.5m repair bill, according to Philadelphia Inquirer.

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