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Section of busy Philadelphia interstate collapses after tanker fire

Philadelphia Gov. Josh Shapiro plans to issue a disaster declaration on Monday.
Section of busy Philadelphia interstate collapses after tanker fire
Posted at 6:13 PM, Jun 11, 2023

A section of Philadelphia's I-95 has collapsed after a tanker truck, carrying flammable cargo, caught fire caught fire beneath the highway.

The Philadelphia Fire Department said it responded to the scene at the Cottman Avenue exit in Northeast Philly at 6:30 a.m. The blaze was under control by 7:30 a.m., but both sides of the roadway remain closed. 

Philadelphia's Office of Emergency Management tweeted that all lanes of I-95 are closed between the Woodhaven and Aramingo exits.

There's no official word on whether anyone was injured, but the fire from it caused a major portion of the interstate above to completely buckle.

"At least one vehicle is still trapped underneath the collapsed roadway. Preliminary reports indicate that a commercial truck carrying a petroleum-based product was the source of the fire," said Gov. Josh Shapiro. "We're still working to identify any individual or individuals who may have been caught in the fire and the collapse."

The governor also said he plans to issue a disaster declaration on Monday that will help expedite the process of getting federal funding.

Explosions surrounding the collapse came as a result of the fire, according to Derek Bowmer, battalion chief for the Philadelphia Fire Department. He said the explosions were caused by "runoff of maybe some fuel or gas lines that could have been compromised by the accident," Bowmer said in a news conference Sunday, according to CNN.

"We have fire coming out of those manholes," he said.

Dominick Mireles, director of Philadelphia's Office of Emergency Management, said officials face a big feat ahead.

"Today is going to be a long day. Obviously with I-95 northbound gone, and southbound questionable, it's going to be even longer than that," Mireles said in a news conference.

He said efforts are just in the preliminary stages, and right now agencies both from within and outside of Philadelphia are getting together to determine next steps.

Shapiro also said Philadelphia Police and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency have been on scene assisting local first responders.

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