State officials reported that a massive explosion caused a part of Interstate 95 to be closed on Friday, after a fuel truck crashed onto a bridge in Connecticut. The crash sent a column of fire and smoke into the air, and killed one person.
Local officials reported that a blown tire on a passenger car set off a series of events which led to the explosion. The explosion also caused at least two other injuries, and damaged the outer guardrail of the bridge. It also melted a portion of the bridge.
The intense heat, which could compromise the steel is something we hope to avoid, said the Governor. Ned Lamont held a press conference on Friday. He said that it was unclear how much fuel was in the truck at the time of crash but its maximum capacity was 2800 gallons.
The bridge connects coastal cities Groton, New London and the bordering state of Rhode Island. It is an important transportation link for eastern Connecticut.
In the cities that it connects, there are several universities and a large military presence. These include the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, as well as Naval Submarine Base New London - the primary naval hub of attack submarines along the East Coast.
Garrett T. Eucalitto said that the Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioner Garrett T. Eucalitto estimated that 60,000 vehicles used the bridge every day. Later, a spokesperson for the department said that an inspection found no damage to steel and that the bridge will reopen.
Trooper 1st class Pedro Muniz, of the Connecticut State Police, said that after the accident at 11:30 am it was reported injuries but the number and severity were not known. He stated that officials asked people to avoid the region.
In a text message sent to The New York Times, Mayor Michael Passero said that the driver died on the spot. He added later that two other people were treated at a hospital nearby for injuries caused by the explosion.
Connecticut State Police tweeted that buildings below the Gold Star Memorial Bridge and a pair truss-supported bridges over the Thames River were also on fire.
The Coast Guard was among the agencies that responded to the explosion. Muniz reported that officials closed the highway from exits 86 to 88 and closed the bridge in both directions.
Amtrak experienced a delay on the Northeast Corridor, which includes tracks located near the accident. Service was resumed in 30 minutes according to Jen Flanagan.
In the United States, fatal accidents involving tanks are common. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's latest data, collisions with large trucks resulted in the deaths of 5,759 people, out of an estimated 40,000 fatal accidents. This was a rise from the 4,870 fatalities in these crashes in 2020.
This article was originally published in
The New York Times