The Latest: 3 arrested in Atlanta fire and overpass collapse
ATLANTA (AP) – The Latest on the fire that caused an overpass to collapse in Atlanta (all times local):
The man suspected of starting a raging fire that collapsed a portion of Interstate 85 a few miles north of downtown Atlanta has been charged with arson.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office says bond was set at $200,000 for 39-year-old Basil Eleby during a hearing Saturday. He faces charges of first-degree arson and first-degree criminal damage to property.
The arson charge is new.
Eleby’s next court appearance is set for April 14.
Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence said Eleby was arrested Friday along with Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas. Bruner and Thomas were charged with criminal trespass. Eleby has a lengthy criminal history with past charges that include possession and sale of cocaine, criminal trespass and simple battery.
The fire on Thursday evening crippled a major traffic artery in a city already known for dreadful rush-hour congestion.
The man suspected of starting a raging fire that collapsed a portion of Interstate 85 a few miles north of downtown Atlanta has a court appearance scheduled.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office says Basil Eleby faces a felony charge of criminal damage to property and is scheduled for his first court appearance Saturday morning. Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence said Eleby was arrested Friday along with Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas.
Bruner and Thomas were charged with criminal trespass.
The collapse of a span of Interstate 85 in Atlanta during a raging fire isn’t the first time intense heat has taken out a stretch of elevated roadway.
Georgia officials say repairing damaged sections of I-85 north of downtown Atlanta will take months. That’s made traffic even more miserable for commuters in a city already known for gridlock.
Three people were arrested Friday in connection with the fire, and officials suspect one of them of setting it.
Lauren Stewart, director of the structural engineering laboratory at Georgia Tech, said intense fire can break down even materials such as steel-reinforced concrete. Andy Herrmann, a retired partner with the New York-based engineering firm Hardesty & Hanover, said there have been rare instances of gasoline trucks crashing and causing fires that damaged overpasses.
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