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I-95 tanker fire prompts emergency declaration

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The Governor of Connecticut has declared a state of emergency after the I-95 tanker fire forced the closure of the highway on Thursday. 

The I-95 tanker fire on May 2nd involved a tanker truck hauling petroleum, a four-wheeler, and a semi truck in Norwalk, Connecticut. 

“To avoid it, this tractor-trailer swerved to the right and he hit the other tractor-trailer, which ripped open the back of his gasoline tanker,” said Stephen Shay, with the Norwalk Fire Department to CBS.

According to Connecticut News 12, the I-95 tanker fire required every single fire truck in Norwalk and even some from nearby towns to respond. No serious injuries were reported, but repair and reopening of the stretch of Interstate 95 is expected to take a considerable amount of time. 

Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency during a news conference on Thursday evening. after engineers determined that it is too dangerous to allow traffic to pass under the bridge crossing the interstate. 

“It is an emergency declaration. I filed that with the feds just in the last hour, hoping to get federal reimbursement for the replacement of the bridge,” said Lamont.

“This bridge is less than 10 years old, but the damage was pretty severe due to the amount of gasoline that was in the tanker. It ignited directly underneath the bridge structure. The seal did begin to overheat and warp,” a Connecticut Department of Transportation official said at a news conference. “Unfortunately, it’s not able to be safely reopened in either direction underneath that bridge.”

“Demolition is going to start first thing tomorrow [Friday] morning,” Lamont said, noting that it will likely take a year to rebuild the overpass after the I-95 tanker fire. Officials hope to reopen the interstate by Monday morning, May 6th. 

“I worry about supply chain issues … I think it will definitely impact the local merchants,” Lamont continued. 

“The DEEP Emergency Response and Spill Prevention Division team has conducted air monitoring with handheld technology, and we believe there’s no danger, no impact to air quality due to the burned gasoline,” Deputy Commissioner Emma Cimino said. “We also believe there’s no impact on the Norwalk River or the harbor.

“Thank God no serious injuries, but it has resulted in the closing of I-95 North and South and that is incredible in terms of the traffic jams and what’s happening there,” said Lamont.  

“I know what an incredible inconvenience this is for people and all I can ask you to do is stay away from that area as best you can. The traffic jams are horrendous,” said Lamont. 

Northbound lane closures begin at Exit 13 in Darien. No further information about the I-95 tanker fire has been released. You can watch live footage of the demolition, below.

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