On Monday, rescue workers pulled a body from the wreckage of the tanker truck fire beneath an Interstate 95 overpass in Philadelphia. The grim discovery came as demolition crews prepared to dismantle part of the southbound lanes after the fire on Sunday caused a section on the northbound side of the highway to collapse. The incident on Sunday occurred after the driver of an 8,500-gallon-capacity tanker truck apparently lost control while trying to negotiate a curve on the exit ramp, and slammed into a wall beneath the interstate.
Pennsylvania State Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said that police have not identified the victim and when asked at a press conference whether the victim was the tanker truck driver, he said “I will defer to the medical examiner for comment on that.”
Inspectors discovered that the support beams that hold up the southbound lanes had been severely weakened by Sunday’s explosion, which prompted authorities to order the demolition of the lanes. State Transportation Secretary Carroll said: “The engineering and the inspection of the southbound bridge indicated it’s compromised as a result of the fire. The I-beams are incapable of supporting the traffic and so that structure has to be removed and we’ll be starting today.” Carroll said that he expected that demolition to be completed in four or five days.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro has already warned that it could take months to repair this key stretch of highway that links the East Coast’s two largest cities, New York City and Philadelphia, and which carries roughly 160,000 vehicles a day.
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