PHILADELPHIA-A deliberately set fire on March 13 involving at least 10,000 tires illegally dumped below Interstate 95 closed the main traffic artery through Philadelphia. Flames below the overpass scorched through concrete, exposing steel support beams. It reportedly will take some six months and an estimated $3 million to repair the damage. The road was closed for several days for temporary repairs.
According to Capt. Henry Dolberry, a Philadelphia Fire Department spokesman, the eight-alarm fire burned for five hours before 185 firefighters and 50 trucks brought it under control. He said a yard below the roadway measuring 300 by 400 feet was covered with tires, and one of three buildings on the property was filled from basement to ceiling with tires.
The property-owned by Bond Tire Co., also known as Philadelphia Tire Disposal-has a history of fire code violations back to at least 1994, he said. Efforts to contact the firm were unsuccessful.