OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
11:23 AM – Monday, November 13, 2023
Los Angeles commuters are dealing with the fallout after a massive fire broke out over the weekend beneath the I-10 Freeway, one of the busiest freeways in the nation.
Mayor Karen Bass characterized the circumstance as a “crisis” for a city already known for its traffic congestion. She advised commuters to anticipate delays and strategize alternative routes while the interstate remains closed in both directions near Alameda Street in the downtown area.
The I-10 Freeway is used by more than 300,000 drivers every day, and is currently shut down in both directions. Authorities have proposed alternate routes, but there is no specified timeline for the reopening of this major route through downtown Los Angeles.
“As we made clear yesterday, this was a huge fire and the damage will not be fixed in an instant,” Bass said during a news conference Monday morning. “Engineers have worked all night and are working right now to determine our path forward.”
On Sunday, Bass said, “There’s no reason to think this is going to be over in a couple of days.”
“We cannot give you an estimate of time right now,” Bass said of when the freeway might reopen.
Bass warned commuters to anticipate extensive traffic congestion comparable to the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, a seismic event with a magnitude of 6.7 that resulted in the collapse of multiple freeways in the Los Angeles region.
“For those of you who remember the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Caltrans [the California Department of Transportation] worked around the clock to complete emergency repairs to the freeways — and this structural damage calls for the same level of urgency and effort,” Bass said.
The fire broke out underneath the 10 Freeway just after midnight on Saturday, ripping through numerous wood pallets, trailers, and vehicles stored below the raised interstate, according to law enforcement officials.
Thick smoke and flames billowed into the sky, posing a formidable challenge to over 160 firefighters who worked to extinguish the fire, which raged for three hours. It covered an area equivalent to six football fields before being brought under control.
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