The Latest: Governor declares state of emergency in Fulton

ATLANTA (AP) " The Latest on the collapse of an interstate overpass in Atlanta (all times local):

11:20 p.m.

Georgia's top transportation official says there's no way to tell when the Atlanta highway where an overpass collapsed can be safely reopened to traffic in either direction.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said late Thursday that his agency will have to have to evaluate and adjust to the situation.

The interstate, which carries 250,000 cars per day, is a major thoroughfare for traffic heading north and south through Atlanta. Georgia State Patrol Commissioner Mark McDonough says the bridge collapse effectively "puts a cork in the bottle."

No injuries have been reported in the incident.


10:15 p.m.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has issued a state of emergency for the county where a fire caused an Atlanta interstate overpass to collapse.

Deal declared the emergency for Fulton County on Thursday night.

State government agencies will open late and employees are encouraged to telecommute.

The declaration said the state is mobilizing resource to try to keep traffic disruption to a minimum while emergency work continues. It also encourages the public to avoid the collapse area while assessments are going on.


Officials say the fire that collapsed an interstate overpass has been contained but crews can't access hot spots in the section trapped under the fallen bridge.

Fire department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford says they'll need to bring in heavy equipment to remove the concrete.

He says firefighting crews noticed chunks of concrete beginning to drop Thursday as they were fighting the fire under the bridge and got out of the way minutes before it collapsed.

Stafford said the department had closed down the interstate because of the fire, so no cars were on the overpass when it dropped.


9 p.m.

Atlanta officials say a massive fire that burned for more than an hour and caused the collapse of an interstate overpass has been extinguished.

Fire department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( ) that the fire was under control Thursday night. Stafford said a portion of the bridge on I-85 fell about 7 p.m.

Witnesses say troopers told motorists to turn around on the bridge because they were concerned about its integrity. Minutes later, the bridge collapsed.

Capt. Mark Perry of the Georgia State Patrol told the newspaper that the agency doesn't know what started the fire but that terrorism is not suspected.

The Atlanta Police Department issues a traffic alert advising drivers to find alternate routes around the area.


7:50 p.m.

A large fire has caused an overpass on Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta.

WSB-TV ( reports the massive blaze is burning underneath I-85 northbound near Piedmont Road. It has shut down several roads in northeast Atlanta.

Witnesses say troopers were telling cars to turn around on the bridge because they were concerned about its integrity. Minutes later, the bridge collapsed.

Black smoke can be seen for miles.


Information from: WSB-TV,

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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