3 arrested in Atlanta fire underneath I-85 bridge

Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas were charged with criminal trespass, and investigators said more charges could be pending.

Florence would not say how Eleby allegedly started the fire or what his motive was.

He says firefighting crews noticed chunks of concrete beginning to drop Thursday as they were fighting the fire under the bridge and got out of the way minutes before it collapsed.

Russell McMurry, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, said repairs on the road could take months.

"It's going to take some time to get it repaired and to get it back in service", Deal said, without offering a time frame for reopening.

The collapse effectively "puts a cork in the bottle", Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Mark McDonough said.

No one was hurt in the fire that started Thursday evening, but its location is at a central point in the web of major roadways that serve the Atlanta metro area's 5.7 million people and many businesses, including major corporations such as Coca-Cola Co.

Authorities believe the three are homeless and were living in the vicinity of where the fire took place, Glen Allen, spokesman for the state Fire Marshal's Office, told WXIA.

McMurry said his department stored coils of plastic conduit, used in fiber optic networks, beneath the span but insisted they were noncombustible.


An Atlanta man was charged with arson Saturday morning in connection with the roaring blaze that caused a piece of highway to collapse.

Stafford told the Post that passerby originally thought the smoke was from a vehicle fire, but firefighters realized that there was a bigger problem upon arriving on scene-they couldn't get close enough to hose down the "50-foot wall of fire", Stafford said.

The Journal-Constitution credited the news to the state Department of Insurance, which could not be reached Friday evening.

The highway collapse in Atlanta forced commuters Friday to find different routes to work or to use mass transit.

More than 220,000 cars per day are estimated to drive through that stretch of the interstate. She arrived at the train station at 9:15 a.m. - 15 minutes past when her work day was supposed to start.

Bailey-Blake said: "The first few days are going to be hard". "This will be my new life". Officials gave no estimate of how much the job would cost.

Lauren Stewart, director of the Structural Engineering and Materials Laboratory at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, said intense heat can compromise even steel-reinforced concrete.

Bridge inspectors have determined that the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 sustained damage from a fire that caused the adjacent northbound section to collapse and will also need to remain closed for the foreseeable future.

It's happened before. In 1996, a fire in a big pile of tires beneath I-95 in Philadelphia left a span too weak to handle cars, forcing authorities to shut down 4 miles of the busy East Coast route for repairs.

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