Basil Eleby from 2014 (Source: Fulton County Jail)

Police arrested three people in Connection to the fire that caused a raised section of Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta Thursday

According to Jay Florence Deputy Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas were cited with criminal trespass charge, a misdemeanor and Basil Eleby was charged with criminal damage to property and was taken to the Atlanta City Jail. The suspects are believed to be homeless.

“They used available materials to start the fire. We got reports that several individuals were in the area. We interviewed those; that led to a third,” Florence said.

Florence did not elaborate on where exactly on the bridge the fire started, or why the individuals started the fire, the types of materials used, or give any motive for their actions.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it will take at least several months to repair the damage.

“We are not able to give you a firm estimate at this moment, but this will take at least several months to get this rebuilt,” DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said at a news conference Friday after inspectors got a closer look at the damage.

The DOT said that in addition to the collapse of the northbound lanes, damage to the southbound lanes was so extensive that a portion of those lanes must also be replaced. According to McMurry, three sections of the northbound lanes and three sections of the southbound lanes will have to be replaced.

"That's a total of about 350-feet northbound and 350-feet southbound that will have to be totally replaced," McMurry said. "That is no small feat, but we're up for the challenge."


A massive fire burned under I-285, causing a portion of the bridge to collapse Thursday afternoon.

 
 
 
 

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