There was a massive fire under a major highway in Atlanta yesterday that caused a bridge to collapse and a complete nightmare for commuters that will possibly continue for months until the highway is repaired.
As reported by Yahoo News:
Atlanta’s notoriously tangled commutes were thrown into disarray Friday after a massive fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse, completely shutting down the heavily traveled highway through the heart of the city.
Georgia’s top transportation official said there’s no way to tell when the highway, which carries 250,000 cars a day, can be safely reopened to traffic in either direction following the collapse in the northbound lanes leading out of the city.
McMurry said Friday in a news release that bridge inspectors have determined the southbound lanes of I-85, adjacent to the section that collapsed, also were damaged by the fire and will need to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
He said the fire started in an area that was used as a storage location for construction materials, equipment and supplies. Authorities were still working to determine how the fire started.
So they don’t know the cause of the fire but they seem to know for sure that it wasn’t terrorism and it may have been something really ridiculous:
Capt. Mark Perry of the Georgia State Patrol told the newspaper terrorism is not suspected. Gov. Deal told reporters PVC plastic materials in a vehicle may have caught fire.
How do PVC materials just “catch fire?” Well, let’s take a look at PVC.org:
PVC is an inherently fire resistant plastic, the only exception among the general-purpose plastics, since it contains more than 50% of chlorine.
When PVC products are burned, hydrogen chloride gas resulting from thermal cracking slows down the continuous combustion reaction and prevents burning progress by warding off the PVC product surface from oxygen in the air.
Other advantages of PVC are that it releases less combustion heat than other plastics – hence contributes less to maintaining and spreading fire – and produces no or very few flaming droplets or debris.
The investigation is under way and they will eventually figure out what started it but it seems a bit “odd” that fire-resistant PVC materials just randomly caught fire.
In the meantime, Atlanta commuters are in for a few months of painful commuting, more painful that the traffic they deal with in that area on a regular basis.
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