Firefighters in Atlanta believe a massive fire caused the northbound lanes over a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse Thursday evening. The blaze reportedly began at around 6:30 p.m. close to the Buford-Spring Connector. It was 30 minutes later that the northbound lanes collapsed. While the fire continued burning, all lanes on the busy interstate were blocked with traffic, as the heavy black smoke impeded vision. The smoke could reportedly be seen for miles around.

Fire on Interstate 85 'under control'

Speaking for the Atlanta Fire Department, Sgt. Cortez Stafford said firefighters had continued working until late in the evening and that they had the fire under control. Stafford confirmed that no injuries had been suffered by motorists or the first responders. However, Stafford did note that firefighters had a close call, moving out from under the span just in time before it collapsed. Motorists have been warned by the Georgia Department of Transportation to stay off I-85 close to Midtown.

USA Today quotes a spokeswoman, Natalie Dale, as saying the department does not yet know what caused the fire, but that bridge inspectors were on their way.

No fatalities from the incident on Interstate 85

Mayor Kasim Reed sent a tweet advising residents that the fire had been extinguished with no fatalities.

According to CNN, Reed told them the collapse of the interstate was in no way terrorism-related.

However, he was unable to say what might have caused the fire. Governor Nathan Deal has said they have contacted the construction crew that first built the bridge in an effort to determine how long repairs will take. Deal added that while the cause of the fire is still unknown, speculation is that some PVC products may have caught fire. He did say it will take some time to complete the repairs and return it to service.

According to witnesses on the scene, just prior to the collapse state troopers were advising motorists to turn around on the bridge, as they were concerned about its integrity. It was reportedly moments later that the bridge collapsed.

As for the fire, WSB-TV reports early Friday that it is still ongoing.

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