California Dem Governor Gavin Newsom said that Los Angeles‘ main commuter highway will re-open sooner than expected after being set on fire.

A massive fire broke out on the I-10 freeway in Downtown L.A. on Saturday night which prompted Newsom, 56, to declare a State of Emergency. 

The blaze – which broke out inside a pallet yard below the highway – collapsed columns on the freeway and melted steel and left the notoriously busy freeway eerily empty. 

Newsom didn’t disclose the exact cause of the fire – but suggested that there had been ‘malicious intent’. 

Despite initially claiming the I-10 would be shut for up to five weeks – Newsom has now claimed that the major freeway would re-open by Tuesday ‘at the latest’.

A fire consumed parts of Freeway I-10 in Los Angeles Saturday night

A fire consumed parts of Freeway I-10 in Los Angeles Saturday night

Newsom didn't disclose the exact cause of the fire that caused parts of the freeway to close down - but suggested that there had been 'malicious intent'

Newsom didn’t disclose the exact cause of the fire that caused parts of the freeway to close down – but suggested that there had been ‘malicious intent’

Governor Newsom initially said repairs for the busy freeway could take up to five weeks - but he has now promised LA residents that it should re-open by Tuesday 'at the latest'

Governor Newsom initially said repairs for the busy freeway could take up to five weeks – but he has now promised LA residents that it should re-open by Tuesday ‘at the latest’

‘By Tuesday next week, trucks, passenger vehicles in both directions will be moving again,’ Newsom said. ‘We’ve doubled the crews, we’ve doubled down on our efforts here.’

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass responded to the good news about I-10’s sooner-than-expected reopening by saying: ‘This is a good day in Los Angeles.’

The Mayor thanked Angelenos for switching to public transportation during the chaotic time – and advised residents to avoid crowding surface streets while the race to restore the freeway finished up.

At a Thursday night news conference at the scene of the fire in Los Angeles – Newsom said: ‘Five lanes in both directions. By Tuesday next week, trucks, passenger vehicles in both directions will be moving again. We’ve doubled the crews, we’ve doubled down on our efforts here.’

The democrat governor said that 250 contractors and 30 carpenters had been working hard to repair the bridge. 

Arson investigators have looked into the hugely damaging fire and have come to believe that the blaze was intentionally set and began at a property underneath the freeway.

By 2.30am on Saturday, pallets in two yards below the freeway were engulfed. Fire crews used bulldozers to clear away debris

By 2.30am on Saturday, pallets in two yards below the freeway were engulfed. Fire crews used bulldozers to clear away debris

The interstate's structural columns appeared damaged in images taken on Monday

The interstate’s structural columns appeared damaged in images taken on Monday 

The building was being leased from the California Department of Transportation but so far no arrests have been made and investigators are continuing to look into the case.  

Pallets were stored in the building as well as highly flammable sanitizer that was collected for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The extensive fire shut down a huge section of the I-10 freeway, creating commuting chaos for its nearly 300,000 daily drivers.

The fire was started just after midnight in the early hours of Saturday in the 1700 block of East 14th street.

Firefighters from 26 companies worked to extinguish the flames after they ignited in one downtown pallet yard and spread to another.

Flames engulfed multiple trailers at the first yard, according to Los Angeles Fire Department PIO Margaret Stewart.

The blaze spread to a second pallet yard between Lawrence and Elwood street, melting some of the freeway’s steel guardrails and damaging firetrucks.

By 2.30am, pallets in both yards were mostly consumed by the fire, and crews turned to bulldozers to move debris and snuff out hot spots.

A homeless encampment underneath one overpass was forced to flee as chunks of supporting concrete columns collapsed. Its unclear if there were any injuries as a result of the blaze.

Three nearby buildings were spared from the blaze, but the freeway sustained extensive damage.

Los Angeles has gone almost a week without a section of a vital freeway that carries more than 300,000 vehicles daily

Los Angeles has gone almost a week without a section of a vital freeway that carries more than 300,000 vehicles daily

Over 160 firefighters worked together to contain the blaze and prevent more damage on Saturday

Over 160 firefighters worked together to contain the blaze and prevent more damage on Saturday

In this aerial view, traffic is backed up near a closed interstate 10 in the aftermath of the fire

In this aerial view, traffic is backed up near a closed interstate 10 in the aftermath of the fire

The LA Times reported that the space underneath the I-10 was occupied by small immigrant businesses that rented out the concrete columns holding up the interstate.

The businesses included mechanics, truckers, garment suppliers, recyclers and pallet distributors, according to The LA Times. 

After the fire – the businesses lost their equipment and belongings, which weren’t covered by insurance for the most part.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail

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