Man Charged In Connection To I-85 Bridge Fire

Three people have been taken into custody in connection to the massive fire the resulted in a bridge on I-85 collapsing on Thursday evening.

40-year-old Basil Eleby was charged with first degree criminal damage to property and criminal trespassing.


Eleby will appear in court Saturday morning. More charges could be coming for Eleby.

Two other people were given citations for trespassing and were released.

Channel 2’s Mark Winne learned one or more of the individuals involved may be transient.

Channel 2 Action News has learned Eleby has been arrested several times before. He has been booked on charges including possession of marijuana and cocaine, criminal trespass, simple battery, and simple assault dating back to 1995.

The massive blaze started at about 6:15 p.m. Thursday beneath I-85 northbound near Piedmont Road.

Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez tracked down the two officers who first spotted the fire.

“We saw smoke coming from out underneath the bridge. As we got closer, that’s when we noticed the spool of conduit fire,” Atlanta police Officer Ryan Severance said.

“It just kept getting worse and worse and worse,” Officer Jean Hernandez said.

No one was injured in the fire.

“My main worry was the firefighters, because we know a lot of them and they were under there,” Severance said.

The Georgia Department of Transportation said it was storing non-combustible, high-density plastic pipe underneath the bridge.

I will update this post as more info becomes available.

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