OAN’s Abril Elfi
1:46 PM – Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Authorities believe that the fire that closed down Interstate 10 in California was caused by an arsonist.
On Monday, California authorities stated that the reason for the big weekend fire that scorched and closed a crucial portion of a Los Angeles freeway was caused by arson, which also resulted in severe traffic jams.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) stated that investigators are now trying to figure out just how many people were involved.
“I have to stress that we have determined what started the fire,” Newsom told reporters.
The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAPD) reported the fire at 1:46 a.m. PT at a storage yard beneath the 10 Freeway, located at Alameda and 14th streets in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday.
A SigAlert was issued, resulting in the closure of the freeway and subsequent traffic congestion.
Under the freeway, a substantial amount of combustible materials, including pallets, shipping containers, and vehicles, fueled the fire. Firefighters unleashed over 1,000 gallons of water per minute to put out the blaze, surpassing the hydrant system’s capacity, according to Ortiz.
Homeless encampments and storage containers were nearby, contributing to the intensity of the fire. The elevated temperatures resulted in structural damage to the freeway and partial melting of the front of a fire truck. The fire’s severity led it to cross the street, penetrating another storage yard.
The heat melted guard rails on the off-ramp and affected some freeway pillars. The closure of the freeway will continue until Caltrans ensures its safety. Traffic was redirected eastbound at Alameda and westbound at Santa Fe.
Early testing indicates that the deck “appears to be much stronger than originally assessed,” according to Newsom. The superstructure, decks, and columns were sampled on Monday for concrete and rebar, which will be used to decide “whether or not we’re tearing this down and replacing it, or we’re continuing the recovery and repairs,” he stated.
Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt spoke to the press saying that it is still too early to tell how long it will take for the highway to be repaired.
“This isn’t going to be resolved in a couple of days, and it’s not going to take a couple years,” Bhatt said. “But whether it’s weeks or months, we’re still too early to tell.”
After searching through the debris for evidence, investigators have determined the origin of the fire and its cause, according to California Fire Marshal Daniel Berlant. However, they did not reveal the specifics of their findings. There is not any suspicious information yet, he said.
He also mentioned that they are speaking with witnesses, which includes local business owners and homeless people in the area.
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