At approximately 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, fire crews respond to a fire under an overpass on a heavily-trafficked section of I-85 northbound. Local networks broadcasted the blaze live for several hours.
Emergency respondents from various counties battled the intense fire for about an hour. The city called in two special fire trucks from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport that simultaneously power-sprayed gallons and gallons of foam onto the collapsed and blazing section of I-85. It was a spectacular sight to see.
Later that evening, Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency after a section of Interstate 85 gave way under the force of the blaze, engulfing several lanes in wind-whipped flames, and plumes of black smoke. The governor also assured Atlanta residents that this was not an act of terror. Although a devastating blow to the city’s infrastructure, city officials say that there were no injuries reported.
Mayor Kasim Reed advised Metro Atlanta commuters to take MARTA transportation to help alleviate some of the congestion that will occur as the city will attempt to reroute tens of thousands of commuters for weeks or possible months to come.
As of early Friday morning, firefighters are still battling smoldering debris despite rain storms last evening. Additionally, All five lanes of the highway in each direction are blocked and will be closed for the foreseeable future.