I-95 Update: Driver hauling 8,500 gallons of fuel crashed after losing control, causing fires

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro speaks to members of the media near a collapsed portion of Interstate 95, caused by a large vehicle fire, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 11, 2023. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:08 PM – Monday, June 12, 2023

According to state investigators, the fire that caused a section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia to collapse occurred when a truck driver took an off-ramp and accidentally drove into a wall.


Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said that the truck driver was heading northbound on I-95 on Sunday morning when he suddenly lost control and crashed into a wall while attempting to handle a bend.

The vehicle “landed on its side” after smashing into the wall, sparking the fire. Pennsylvania State Police also noted that the vehicle was hauling 8,500 gallons of gasoline, according to Carroll.

Authorities announced Monday that massive pieces of the Interstate 95 bridge that fell in Philadelphia on Sunday are currently being demolished.

“Demolition of the collapsed bridges has begun and detours are in place,” the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said in a press release. “A more exact timeline for the complete rebuilding of the I-95 roadway should be available in the coming days once the engineers complete their review.”

While teams work to clear the rubble, federal investigators are looking into the tanker truck fire that caused the collapse, which has left a section of the East Coast’s main roadway with significant damage that could take months to fix.

Pennsylvania Democrat Governor Josh Shapiro declared the incident a disaster on Monday, allowing the state to access federal cash and remove red tape to hasten repairs. The I-95 highway is one of the busiest in the region, with around 160,000 cars driving through Philadelphia each day.

According to Jennifer Homendy, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, investigators are following the emergency response while personnel wade through the wreckage to reach the 8,500-gallon-capacity tanker truck, which is the primary focus of the inquiry.

It is still unclear and has not been reported whether anyone was trapped in the burning vehicle, including the driver. According to Homendy, the tanker was transporting gasoline for delivery at a nearby Wawa service station.

“We have to get in and see what we think happened with the tanker truck,” said Homendy. “There are lots of different scenarios,” she said. Investigators could also consider the structural makeup of the bridge, she added.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Monday that his office is ready to assist local officials in dealing with the widespread inconvenience caused by the collapse.

“But, just to be clear, swiftly is not going to be overnight,” Buttigieg told reporters. “We’re talking about major structural work.”

According to Leslie Richards, general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), the agency is adding extra capacity and service to alternative transit routes as well as assessing all possibilities for aiding travelers as they work around the collapse.

Buttigieg stated on Sunday that the Department of Transportation will provide whatever support is available with repairs and reconstruction.

The fire was out by Sunday afternoon, but firefighters stayed near the area as a precaution “because of the large volume of product that was involved,” said Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Thompson.

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