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California Gov. Newsom says LA freeway structural fire likely arson

A portion of I-10 was closed in both directions in downtown Los Angeles, forcing thousands of motorists to find another route.
Los Angeles Interstate 10 closure prompts state of emergency
Posted at 8:18 AM, Nov 13, 2023

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency after a fire forced part of Interstate 10 near Los Angeles to close down Saturday. Later on Monday the governor said the cause was likely arson. Newsom told reporters that fire investigators "made a preliminary determination" and said "there was malice intent."

As of late Monday, the section of the highway remains closed and officials had not put a timetable on when the reopening process might begin. 

Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said they are using all available resources to get the interstate reopened. 

"This is a whole of government response as we work effectively and efficiently to safely re-open this critical transit corridor for Angelenos as quickly as possible," Newsom said in a statement. 

"I want to assure all Angelenos that the necessary resources to repair this damage have been made available to minimize the impact," he said. 

Los Angeles Fire officials said the inferno started early Saturday under the freeway as a rubbish fire in a storage yard that had pallets, trailers and vehicles. It took about three hours for firefighters to contain the blaze. 

The fire was considered a major emergency, which involved 26 fire companies.

SEE MORE: Tragedy strikes LA Sheriff's Department with 4 deaths this week

According to Newsom's office, 287,500 vehicles use the stretch of Interstate 10 on a daily basis. 

The City of Los Angeles said schools planned to remain open, but bus routes could be impacted. 

The city was also encouraging motorists to find detours, use public transportation or plan extra time for their commute. 

Bass said she had been in contact with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about the possible use of federal resources. 

Bass provided an update on Monday with no new timetable as to when the interstate could reopen.

"Losing this stretch of the 10 freeway will take time and money from people's lives and businesses," she said. "It's disrupting in every way. Whether you are talking about traveling to and from work, or your child care plans and the flow of goods and commerce, this will disrupt the lives of Angelenos. So I will not settle for anything other than a rebuilding plan and a timeline that becomes a new model for speed." 

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