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Fire closes major highway in Los Angeles

Freeway Fire-Los Angeles
Posted at 8:14 AM, Nov 12, 2023

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A major highway near downtown Los Angeles was closed in both directions Saturday after a fire rampaged through storage lots underneath it.

The fire sent towering flames into the night sky early Saturday morning. Daybreak revealed twisted guardrails and blackened, chipped concrete at an Interstate 10 overpass in an industrial zone.

The California Department of Transportation sent personnel to inspect the highway, with detours established to ease snarled highway traffic. Interstate 10, which runs east-west, was closed near downtown Los Angeles for at least 24 hours into Sunday, authorities said. The cause of the fire hasn't been disclosed.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency and directed the state Department of Transportation to request assistance from the federal government.

“The state is mobilizing resources and taking steps to ensure any necessary repairs are completed as soon as possible to minimize the impact on those traveling in and around Los Angeles,” Newsom said.

The fire department said the blaze burned through trailers, wood pallets and other things in storage lots on both sides of the highway, though firefighters successfully safeguarded three nearby commercial buildings.

More than 160 firefighters from 26 companies responded to the blaze, which spread across 8 acres (3 hectares) — the equivalent of six football fields — and burned parked cars and damaged a support for high-tension power lines.

Fire department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said there were no injuries reported from the fire, which was mostly extinguished by late morning.