Bridge truck fire: Midtown gripped with traffic delays as Queensboro is inspected

Posted at 2:59 PM, Aug 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-16 17:15:32-04

(PIX11) — A truck fire on the lower level of the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge sent a plume of heavy black smoke into the sky and created an ongoing traffic mess Friday .


The truck fire on the bridge Friday morning (Greg Mocker/PIX11)

FDNY Deputy Chief Roger Sakowich says three occupants in the truck noticed smoke coming from the cab and got out just before the diesel tanks exploded around 11 a.m.

A driver who was in a Queens-bound lane when the fire erupted described an “explosion” sound on the span just before plumes of smoke engulfed the scene.

“The bridge was shaking and we just ran out of the car,” said one witness, who did not want to be identified.

Justin Pirard Truck Fire

(Photo/Justin Pirard)

The woman’s vehicle, along with others, was abandoned on the bridge while police investigated the situation.


Firefighters put out the truck fire on the Queensboro Bridge. (Greg Mocker/PIX11)

The truck, which was in the Queens-bound lane of the bridge, was carrying wire, plastic hangers and wood pallets. There was nothing suspicious about the incident, according to officials.

The NYC Department of Transportation will inspect the bridge; the FDNY suspects two beams that support the upper roadway could be slightly out of line.

The outbound lanes on the upper and lower levels remain closed on the side the fire happened; on the other side, the upper level is open Manhattan-bound, and the lower level is open Queens-bound. Even so, the damage is done, with traffic still tied up in Manhattan hours after the incident.


Heavy black smoke rises from the Queensboro Bridge Friday morning. (PIX11)

Manhattan Traffic

Commuters stack up along 2nd Ave. near 42nd St. in Manhattan as drivers tried to take alternate routes like the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
An empty Queensboro Bridge after the truck fire halted traffic on the upper and lower levels. (Photo/Andrew Ramos)