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Bridge in Pittsburgh collapses hours before Biden’s scheduled visit to talk infrastructure – CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

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Bridge in Pittsburgh collapses hours before Biden’s scheduled visit to talk infrastructure – CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

| Breaking News Updates | World News


PITTSBURGH (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – A snow-covered bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed on the morning of Friday, Jan. 28, just hours before President Joe Biden was due to visit the city on a previously scheduled trip to discuss infrastructure.

The Fern Hollow Bridge collapsed early Friday morning, sending a Port Authority bus and several other vehicles crashing into the Hot Dog Dam Dog Park. (Credit: Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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No deaths have been reported, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey said during a news conference at the scene in the area of ​​Forbes and Braddock avenues.

There had been 10 “minor injuries”, said fire chief Darryl Jones, and three people were transported from the scene. None of the injuries were life-threatening, he said.

Four vehicles were on the bridge when it fell, Jones said. Crews are still carrying out reconnaissance to make sure no one was under the bridge when it collapsed, he said.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation, he said.

First responders used ropes to rappel down to the victims, Jones said. Crews also used what he called a “daisy chain” where they linked their hands to reach victims and pull them out.

In an interview with CNN, Jones said the bridge was of no concern to officials before the collapse. The city’s bridges are regularly inspected, he said, and “if there had been a warning or a concern, we would have been notified and made sure not to use this route.”

“So this one took everyone by surprise this morning,” he said.

The Allegheny County Police Department was notified of a partial bridge collapse shortly after 6 a.m. Friday, according to county spokeswoman Amie Downs.

Only minor injuries were reported, including the driver of an articulated bus and two passengers, Downs said.

The collapse also caused a natural gas line in the area to burst, Downs said, but that line has since been severed. There are reports of people feeling sick in the area from the natural gas, Downs said, and those people are being treated on the spot.

Peoples Gas spokesman Barry Kukovich confirmed the company had a gas distribution line on the bridge that had collapsed. “It goes under the roadway, then it goes under the bridge,” he said.

There is no evidence at this time that there was a gas explosion prior to the collapse, Kukovich said. He described the gas line as a distribution line, but said it was not a high pressure gas line.

Peoples Gas crews are on scene assessing the situation, Kukovich said, and nearby customers are experiencing “minimal service disruptions.”

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Biden is aware of the meltdown, the White House said in a statement, and plans to continue his journey.

“The President is grateful to the first responders who rushed to help the drivers who were on the bridge at the time,” the statement read.

Bridge is ‘lifeline’ for region, official says

In an interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman called the bridge a “lifeline” in the Pittsburgh area. The bridge crosses Frick Park, one of the largest parks in the city.

“Fortunately the schools had a two hour delay for the weather,” he said, “so traffic was less than it normally would have been on a normal day, but it’s surreal to see that bridge .”

Asked about the coming collapse on the very day of the president’s visit, Fetterman, a Democrat, said, “It’s a horrible way to highlight how critical our infrastructure needs are in this country.”

Jeremy Habowski told CNN he felt lucky to be alive after surviving the collapse. He and other drivers were unable to stop in time after the bridge gave way, he said.

“The scariest part was definitely going over the edge because there was a gap and my car went off the ground,” he told CNN. His car and others now sit on what remains of the bridge.

Once things were settled, Habowski checked on another pilot, he said. Then he drove up the hill to try to stop other drivers from driving through the rubble.

“It was a lot to take in,” he told CNN.

Greg Barnhisel lives about a quarter of a mile from where the bridge collapsed, so he and his wife walked to see it, he told CNN.

“We didn’t hear it fall apart,” he said. “When we arrived at the site of the collapse, the roar and smell of the broken gas line was overwhelming.”

Another nearby resident, Wendy Stroh, told CBS affiliate KDKA that she heard the collapse but thought it sounded like “a huge snow plow pushing along a tarmac surface. brute without snow”.

“It’s very scary,” she said. “My God, all those ambulances and fire engines and so on. Just the thought of the collapsing bridge is a very frightening prospect. I cross this bridge all the time.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia company contributed to this report.)

Bridge in Pittsburgh collapses hours before Biden’s scheduled visit to talk infrastructure – CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

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