Massive Blaze Cuts Off Major LA Highway

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A massive blaze underneath an Interstate 10 overpass near downtown Los Angeles prompted the Saturday closure of a major stretch of the highway in both directions, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The fire, reportedly starting early Saturday, engulfed storage lots beneath the highway, sending massive flames into the night sky and causing extensive damage to the overpass infrastructure, according to the AP.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County, stating that the officials were “mobilizing resources & taking steps to ensure any necessary repairs are completed.”

Daylight revealed the extent of the destruction, with guardrails twisted and the concrete structure visibly compromised, per the outlet. California Department of Transportation engineers were dispatched to assess the damage and safety of the overpass. Traffic, meanwhile, was redirected to mitigate congestion caused by the highway closure, expected to last at least until Sunday, the outlet noted.

“I-10 will be fully closed until further notice between the East LA Connector & Alameda St due to a fire that damaged the freeway,” the department said in an announcement. (RELATED: REPORT: Gas Line Rupture In Wappingers Falls Triggers Massive Fire And Building Collapse, Injuring 15 People)

The Los Angeles Fire Department reported the fire consumed trailers, wood pallets and stored materials spanning eight acres, equivalent to six football fields, per the outlet. Despite the intense fire, firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to three adjacent commercial buildings. Over 160 firefighters from 26 units tackled the fire, per the AP.

“It’s quite a large population of people experiencing homelessness living out here on these streets and RVs and makeshift homes, and they were all driven back by the heat but none of them luckily were injured,” David Ortiz, Public Information Officer for Los Angeles Fire Department, told NBC Los Angeles.

No injuries have been reportedly; by late morning, the fire was largely under control, per the outlet. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, the AP reported.