PHILADELPHIA — Drivers traveling on I-95 captured the intense flames and heavy smoke before multiple lanes of the highway collapsed on Sunday in Philadelphia.
The fire broke out around 6 a.m. underneath I-95 near the Cottman Avenue exit in the Tacony section of the city.
Sources say the blaze was caused by a tanker truck carrying thousands of gallons of 87 octane gasoline.
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.
“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.”
Taormino can be heard saying, “Oh my God, the road’s falling,” while traveling past the scene.
Other videos posted to social media show large plumes of dark smoke hanging over the highway.
Mark Fusetti, a retired Philadelphia police sergeant, said he was driving south toward the city’s airport when he noticed thick plumes of black smoke rising over the highway.
As he passed the fire, the road beneath began to “dip,” creating a noticeable depression that was visible in video he took of the scene, he said.
He saw traffic in his rearview mirror come to a halt. Soon after, the northbound lanes of the highway crumbled.
“It was crazy timing,” Fusetti said. “For it to buckle and collapse that quickly, it’s pretty remarkable.”
There is no information on any injuries or occupants involved in the vehicle fire, officials said.
During a press conference on Sunday, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro he said the complete rebuild of I-95 would take “some number of months,” and in the meantime officials were looking at “interim solutions to connect both sides of I-95 to get traffic through the area.”
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.
Video from Chopper 6 showed the overpass carrying the northbound lanes of the highway were reduced to rubble.
The southbound lanes are also compromised, officials said.
All lanes of the highway are shut down between the exits for Woodhaven Road in Northeast Philadelphia and Aramingo Avenue in the Port Richmond section.