Major Atlanta road to remain closed after intense fire underneath bridge

ATLANTA — Cheshire Bridge Road remains closed between Faulkner Road and Woodland Avenue in northeast Atlanta after a fire burned for several hours underneath the bridge.

The City of Atlanta Department of Transportation said crews are on scene Friday but say the bridge will be remain closed for car and pedestrian traffic.

“Fire damage at the Northeast corner of Cheshire Bridge Road bridge has severely compromised the bridge structure, making it unsafe for vehicular traffic. The City, ATLDOT, GDOT, Atlanta Gas, and other utility partners are on-site to restore service and to ensure the safety of our residents and business community. Once service disruptions have been addressed, the bridge will remain closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Detour signs will be installed to re-route traffic. For the safety of drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others, the area is restricted due to ongoing repairs.”

Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon spent Thursday at the scene, where he found a barbecue grill right where the fire started.

So far officials said they still don’t know if that was the cause, but this investigation goes on.

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Stephen Shields told Wilfon he was working at his restaurant in northeast Atlanta Wednesday night when he saw the flames.

“I saw the fire under the bridge and quickly alerted my bartender who was parked over in the corner to move his car very quickly and I called 911,” Shields said.

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When fire crews arrived, they found a large fire underneath the bridge along Cheshire Bridge Road near Faulkner Road.

In video sent to us by a viewer, we can see a firefighter jump away from the fire as it grows larger.

Atlanta Gas Light told Wilfon that a small fire underneath the bridge ignited a gas line, causing the fire to burn for hours and damage the bridge.

In a statement, Atlanta Gas Light said:

“On August 4, Atlanta Gas Light assisted first responders with securing the scene after a fire started under a bridge near the 2100 block of Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta. The initial fire was not started by natural gas; however, the fire damaged a 4-inch natural gas line, causing the pipe to ignite. There were no injuries, but for the safety of those in the surrounding area, natural gas service was turned off, impacting fewer than 50 customers. While we work with local authorities to investigate this incident, our team continues to diligently make repairs safely and efficiently and aims to restore service to customers today.”

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An Atlanta Fire spokesperson confirmed to Wilfon that homeless people living in the area have caused numerous fires over the years.

In the middle of where the fire started, Wilfon spotted this barbecue grill.

“I’ve seen them use it. They put wood in it. They don’t have propane,” Shields said.

With Cheshire Bridge Road still closed, Shields said he just hopes his customers can find his restaurant.

“We all make a living off this. Staff who make tips and hourlies. We’re trying to get them back to work as quickly as possible,” Shields said.

No injuries have been reported in the fire.