FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A fire on Christmas Day in Fayetteville badly damaged a downtown bridge that is now closed indefinitely, the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) confirms.
Bridge inspectors say the massive fire was sparked when a 6-inch natural gas line ruptured. The fire was so intense it bent the steel beams which is now causing the deck of the eastbound on East Russell Street over Blounts Creek to sag, according to NCDOT.
NCDOT has closed the bridge near Old Wilmington Road for traffic going toward Eastern Boulevard. The westbound bridge at the same creek is not impacted and remains open.
"The fire was intense," said Mike Fisher, the department's bridge maintenance engineer based in Fayetteville. "We are working quickly to establish a plan of action and an estimated timetable to reopen it."
On the day of the fire, the Fayetteville Fire Department (FFD) confirmed one person was injured. That person's identity and condition has not been released.
The following detour is in place to help drivers navigate around the area until a decision is made on the bridge.
Drivers should use Gillespie Street, the Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway and Eastern Boulevard as the detour.