I-85 fire: What you need to know

I-85 fire, collapse: What we know now

Part of an Interstate 85 bridge collapsed Thursday night after a massive fire. Here's what we know so far.

What happened?

Flames began erupting around 6 p.m. under northbound lanes of I-85 near Piedmont Road. Smoke could be seen from miles as firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.

After 7 p.m., a portion of the overpass collapsed, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Were there any injuries?

There have been no reports of injuries, Atlanta Fire and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said.

What caused the fire? 

Authorities still do not know the cause of the fire, but the did arrest three people were arrested in connection to the fire. The area where the fire originated, he said, was storage for high-density plastic conduit used for cabling and fiber optics. He said the material isn't combustible.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said that city officials have spoken with the FBI and "there is no evidence that this is related to terrorism."

PHOTOS | Fire burning under Atlanta Interstate (story continues below gallery)

What was burning?

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said high-density plastic conduit, which was non-combustible, was stored under the bridge. He identified it as HDPE.

Is the fire contained?

As of 9:41 p.m., Stafford said that the fire had been contained. Crews continued to battle hotspots Friday morning.

When will the bridge be fixed?

It's not yet known how long it will take for crews to repair the bridge.

Who will pay for the repairs?

Staffers with Gov. Nathan Deal's office confirmed early Friday afternoon that federal funds would be coming to Georgia to help pay for reconstruction. 

Federal transportation officials awarded $10 million in emergency funds to help repair the collapsed section of I-85. The agency says the “quick release” funding will be used to restore emergency access and begin the most critical repairs in the next few weeks. The funds for short-term repairs “can make long-term repair work possible in the weeks ahead.”

PHOTOS | Under the bridge aftermath

How many people travel over that stretch of I-85 each day? 

About 220,000 people drive over that section of the interstate each day, according to Georgia Department of Transportation. 

What roads are closed? 

 Navigating Atlanta's traffic after the Interstate 85 fire and collapse will be tough for every commuter, and what's open and what's not will be ever-evolving. Click here for the latest updates.

Was the smoke dangerous?

According the Department of Public Health, there has been no significant toxicity identified in the smoke. However, the smoke can cause problems for those with heart or lunch disease.  (Read more)

PHOTOS: 11Alive viewers capture I-85 fire

State of Emergency

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for Fulton County late Thursday. 

“The state is mobilizing all available resources to ensure public safety and minimize disruption of traffic as we continue emergency response efforts,” said Deal. “The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is coordinating response efforts with the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency and other state and local officials. As this safety investigation and bridge assessment continues, we encourage the public to avoid the affected area, remain patient and allow first responders to perform their jobs. We will continue updating the public on alternative traffic routes and other information as it becomes available.”

This is a developing story. We'll continue to add more information as we get it. Refresh often for the latest updates, and download the FREE 11Alive News app for notifications on major events.

11Alive is committed to getting you the information you need to get about the I-85 collapse safely. We're sharing an ever-changing list of closed roads. We have the city's most experienced television traffic reporter. We have a network of hundreds of traffic cameras and live interactive maps

© 2017 WXIA-TV


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment