Residents Say Fire on I-85 Reignited Memories of Chaos

Amanda Cooper
January 24, 2020 - 6:49 am

(Photo Credit: Anonymous)


Buckhead residents and business owners say a fire on I-85 at the Buford Connector reignited memories of the massive blaze that caused chaos several years ago.

Many were concerned after learning that the small fire underneath the bridge Thursday afternoon, was near the same area where a blazing fire caused the bridge to collapse back in 2017. Local boutique owner Myriam Belasse has been in the area for six years.   She spoke with us about what went through her mind when she saw smoke coming from underneath the bridge.

Several patrons at a local adult entertainment club said they panicked after seeing thick black smoke pouring out from underneath the bridge. A local resident, who did not want to be identified, says that Thursday's fire is the second this month and that concerns him.  He says the bridge has a fence around it yet is still accessible to homeless people who live underneath the bridge.

The AJC reported, Georgia Department of Transportation spokesman, Scott Higley, noted that the General Assembly outlawed “urban camping” in 2018. Higley said GDOT works with local police, including the Atlanta Police Department, “to enforce the law and help mitigate this problem to the best degree we collectively can.” “The ultimate goal is to get these individuals to a location that is safe for them and provides services to get them back on their feet while ensuring the safety of the motoring public is not compromised.” 

According to a local office manager, Atlanta Fire Rescue assessed the extent of the fire from his company’s property located behind the bridge around 1 pm. He then says they determined that a trash fire under the bridge was the cause of the smoke and proceeded to closed 85 near the location at the top bridge on 85 to put out the small fire.

(Photo Credit: Anonymous)

Atlanta Fire Rescue spokesman, Capt. Cortez Stafford, says the source of the fire was due to trash debris underneath the bridge. According to Stafford, A fire team extinguished the fire quickly, and lanes reopened by 1:45 pm. 

Scott Higley, with The Georgia Department of Transportation, says the bridge was inspected as a precaution, and no problems were found. 

There were no reports of damage.