A massive fire following an oil truck crash on the Gold Star Bridge shut down Interstate 95 in both directions for nearly two hours on Friday, officials said.
The northbound lanes have reopened, but the southbound side remained closed Friday afternoon.
State police did not immediately provide details, including whether anyone was injured.
State Department of Transportation cameras on the bridge showed smoke billowing from the southbound crash site around exit 86 in Groton. A bridge inspection team was deployed to investigate the structure, DOT Director of Communications Kafi Raus said.
“When they are given the all-clear, they will go in to assess the bridge and whatever damage,” Raus said. “It’s too early to tell how much damage they will find.”
#UPDATE All Northbound lanes have been reopened. The southbound lanes still remain closed. Avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/a6XanhOAOp
— CT State Police (@CT_STATE_POLICE) April 21, 2023
Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick said firefighters from as far as Rhode Island and North Stonington helped battle the blaze, which included secondary fires caused by flaming debris. Firefighters from New London and several other towns and the nearby U.S. Navy submarine base and Electric Boat shipyard also arrived to fight the fire, he said.
Kedric believed the fire was caused by a home heating oil fuel truck that crashed, he said. The state Department of Environmental Protection was also at the scene to get rid of any water contaminated by oil, he said.
“I’ve never seen anything like it other than when I went through firefighter training in the Navy,” Hedrick said of the thick smoke and flames.
Fire on the gold star bridge in groton Ct😳 pic.twitter.com/pxbAMKWWec
— chrisstevens7 (@Moneymakerzzz91) April 21, 2023
A man from Groton shot dramatic video of the blaze while driving over the bridge at 11:20 a.m. Three-foot high flames and reams of black smoke can be seen lapping at the pavement for a long stretch in the video.
“I saw a giant cloud of smoke and a line of fire,” said Chris Stevens, who lives in Groton and was headed over the southbound side of the bridge to get to a gym in Waterford. “The closer you got, you just saw a wall of fire and you could feel the heat. Everyone was driving in the left break-down lane to avoid it.”
The wall of fire spanned nearly the entire bridge and the smoke was so high and thick that Stevens said he couldn’t see most of the vehicles involved in the accident that caused the fire.
“I could see one car, that was it,” he said.
Stevens was on the bridge before firefighters arrived, he said. The only way around the bridge to get back to Groton would be to go to the casinos in Ledyard, he said.
New London police said motorists should expect prolonged delays.
🚨#BREAKING: Massive Explosion as Fuel Tanker Truck Crashes and Ignites on Golden Star Bridge
Currently multiple emergency crews are on the scene at a significant accident that occurred on the Golden Star Bridge, between New London and Groton,… pic.twitter.com/dW4VVRrV8P
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) April 21, 2023
Let’s shut down more pipelines, then we can have more of these events. Biden is such an e f f ing moron. Speake volumes about democrat voters.
Welcome to Biden’s Extinct Go Green Planet Of The Dead.
Oh God, have mercy on those poor people.