I-15 Bridge Collapse: Bridge Closed Due To Fire

By: Toni Matthews-El - May 6, 2014

Who would have thought one construction worker’s careless mistake could lead to a bridge collapse and major traffic jams?

On Monday a fire was ignited on Interstate 15 in Hesperia, Calif. by one of the workers at a bridge construction site.

The worker’s blowtorch somehow managed to set the wooden supports of the Ranchero Road overpass bridge on fire.

The Caltrans contractors were so into their work that no one was even aware that anything was wrong.

It was not until firefighters had them evacuate for their own safety that workers were even aware of the fire.

None of the contractors reported any injuries though one person reportedly suffered from smoke inhalation symptoms.

Dozens of firefighters attacked the blaze, but windy conditions and little access to water made containing the fire very difficult.

The fire was eventually brought under control by Monday evening, aside from some smoldering.

The fire and resulting bridge collapse led to authorities closing the freeway. The falling debris made it unsafe for traffic.

The bridge closure resulted in traffic being backed up for six miles to the south and nearly twenty miles to the north of the scene of the collapse.

Officials expect traffic problems to continue through Wednesday.

“The Cajon Pass is going to be a nightmare for the next 24 to 48 hours,” warned San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Josh Wilkins. He hinted that the problem could stretch beyond the next couple of days.

“If at all possible, avoid [the pass] altogether…because there is just no way they’re going to open it any time soon.”


Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga strongly suggests those impacted by the bridge collapse use alternate routes such as interstates 138 and 18.

It’s terrible luck that this happened at Southern California’s main connector to Las Vegas.

The bridge has been reportedly under construction since early 2013. There’s no telling how much of a setback this fire will be to the ongoing project.

Image via YouTube

About the Author

Toni Matthews-ElToni Matthews-El hails from the land of chunked pumpkins and people who come to a complete stop before making any and every turn. When she isn't contributing articles to WebProNews, she spends her time freelance writing, cheering Liverpool FC, and enjoying life as a hair flower connoisseur. Disclaimer: Written opinions do not necessarily reflect that of WebProNews or its affiliates

View all posts by Toni Matthews-El
  • BobiGman

    This might make then consider building the bridge out of steel instead of wood. Back to the drawing board!

    • J Carpenter

      Bridges are built with rebar reinforced concrete. Wood is used for the concrete form work. Know what you are talking about before speaking out. Makes you look like a fool. Oh wait, too late.

      • lee gary

        Your own comment makes you like a fool. Bridges are essentially wood until the forms are released.

  • High Desert Bob

    Careless worker? How do you know that? They were welding in 30+ mph winds. If anything the supervisor should have shut the work down. If you’re a welder and the boss says, “Weld!” you do it.

    The wood only surrounded the re-bar just before the concrete is poured. The bridge wasn’t wood.

    • Erik11235813

      it looks like wood to me. so the wood wasn’t important? it just surrounded the re-bar? does that mean it’s just a minor setback?
      I don’t know about overpass building, but it looked like that wood held up the re-bar until concrete gets poured and set.
      if the bridge wasn’t wood, what was it? it doesn’t look to me like cement yet.

    • vucja

      If it’s unsafe and the boss tells you to do it anyway, you should assert yourself. Lives could depend on it.

    • RLS1024, Druid – American

      Gotta love union rules, no matter how many lives are at risk.

  • Bryan Vermeersch

    where is interstate 138 and 18

    • J.Griffin

      Get a map and look them up-
      they’re not Interstates.

      They are alternate routes that are just CA state highways.

  • Scott1154

    Ha, probably an illegal.

    • RLS1024, Druid – American

      Obama’s fault…

  • akboots

    15 clicks later we finally get to the story. Sheesh.

  • Flash001USA

    Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!

  • jim

    “Who would have thought one construction worker’s careless mistake could lead to a bridge collapse and major traffic jams?”

    Not too likely, Ms. Matthews-El, especially considering your flippant attitude about a serious circumstance. The fact that you write like a fourth-grader doesn’t help either. Apparently you’re not familiar with the rigorous safety standards in bridge construction. The chances of misuse of a single blowtorch being the cause is next to nothing; this event is more likely a small-scale MIHOP conspiracy to create filler for the news.