Fire sparked by blowtorch at Southern California bridge construction site shuts down section of I-15 for nearly 2 days

|  May 07, 2014 |

The charred and collapsed remains of the Ranchero Road overpass draped over Interstate 15. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times

The charred and collapsed remains of the Ranchero Road overpass draped over Interstate 15. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times

Officials in Hesperia, California closed down an entire section of Interstate 15 for about a day and a half between Monday and Tuesday after a devastating fire at a bridge construction site dropped debris onto the highway.

According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, all lanes of the Interstate have been reopened. But it took a lot of work to get there.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the fire was accidentally started Monday afternoon by a construction worker cutting rebar when his blowtorch ignited the wooden supports of the Ranchero Road overpass bridge.

Many workers on the site were unaware of the fire until they were evacuated by firefighters. Fortunately, none were hurt.

Dozens of firefighters fought the blaze while California Department of Transportation crews demolished the remnants of the bridge’s wooden skeleton.

According to CBS Los Angeles, the fire challenged firefighters throughout Monday night which was fueled by wind gusts that reached 35 miles per hour. Caltrans crews also faced a challenge as they raced to tear down the structure to reopen the Interstate.

The fire has added another $5 million to $6 million and six months of work to the bridge’s construction. The $59 million wooden and rebar bridge had been under construction since early 2013 and was scheduled to open in 2015.

 

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