NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Much of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was closed for hours Sunday night, after a truck caught fire.
As CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported, it all started with a loud bang that directed all eyes and cell phone cameras to the bridge just before 7 p.m.
From atop residential towers, and from street level, numerous videos and photos showed the truck ablaze — and thick black smoke invading Manhattan’s East Side.
The truck that caught fire on the lower deck near the Queens-bound entrance ramp was hauling at least one oxygen tank, as well as acetylene and nitrogen.
The fire had begun as an engine block blaze, but one of the oxygen tanks in the back of the truck explode, firefighters said.
The explosion prompted hazardous materials crews to rush to the scene, and created a condition that could not be cleared instantly.
Thus, drivers were hit with the colors of frustration — red and orange brake lights, and flames, that had some drivers stuck for two hours.
The Queens-bound upper and lower levels of the bridge were shut down for over two hours, and the Manhattan-bound lower level was also shut down for a period of time.
“I just gave up,” said Terry Vasiliadis. “I just parked it literally over that.”
“Coming from 18th Street,” a man said. “Crazy.”
Meanwhile, witnesses issued tweets showing the photos and descriptions of the raging fire.
Soon after firefighters extinguished the blaze, CBS 2’s cameras were allowed to get a close up look inside the charred box truck, licensed to a company in Maspeth, Queens. Luckily, the driver managed to get far away from the truck before the explosion and there were no injuries.
Traffic was back moving by 9:10 p.m., but social media continued to buzz with witness accounts of the big blaze on the busy bridge.
The city Department of Transportation said the bridge was back to normal late Sunday night, and the earlier fire will not affect the morning rush.
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