ATLANTA - A major bridge along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is expected to reopen for drivers at about 5 p.m., officials said Wednesday afternoon. The update comes after a fire underneath the bridge in downtown Atlanta damaged the structure.
The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon and smoke could be seen from several parts of downtown. Officials temporarily closed the bridge, which sustained some superficial damage.
While it wasn't immediately known what caused the fire, investigators said it was in an area frequented by homeless people.
"There are so many makeshift homes and trash that's been under here, we had a pretty significant fire," Atlanta Fire and Rescue spokesman Kevin Roberts told Channel 2.
Atlanta fire Capt. Marian McDaniel said while there were no immediate reports of anyone missing, cadaver dogs were brought in as a precaution to search the area around the bridge. McDaniel also said engineers were called in to inspect a portion of the bridge to determine the extent of any structural damage.
Once the fire was out, other problems surfaced. Concrete began falling from a section of the bridge that had been stressed by being heated by intense flames, and then doused in cooling water.
"It's very dangerous," Roberts said. "When the concrete falls, there's no warning, and there are large sections that weigh 50 pounds and up."