PORT ORANGE, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - You could call it a hot mess on a cold day on a vital bridge on Dunlawton Avenue.
Traffic was delayed in Port Orange as firefighters tried to reach the flames and first-responders and engineers had concerns part of the bridge might collapse in the heat. Officials say construction equipment involved in a bridge renovation project touched off the stubborn fire.
Eyewitnesses say they were scared and confused by what they were seeing. The fire broke out during the busy lunchtime rush.
“I noticed all the flashing lights and I realized that’s why these cars are backed up on my block,” said Mike Disaleo.
Disaleo lives right by the bridge and he described the traffic nightmare that gummed up his neighborhood as the fire department scrambled to access the spot where the fire was burning.
Port Orange Fire Chief Ken Fustin explained rubber vacuum hoses involved in the bridge upgrade ignited and because it was under the bridge, that posed some challenges to his crews.
"We had to literally repel over the side of the bridge to get to the fire,” Fustin said.
That was almost 80 feet high for firemen. The hoses were on a scaffolding system. Dave Marotto was fishing under the bridge and watched as the bridge fire raged on.
“It was a heck of a fire, you could hear it roaring, and of course the wind out there too,” Marotto said.
Traffic is back open now and no one was hurt. An engineer for the project will assess what if any serious structural damage occurred.