Fatal truck collision, fire impacts traffic on Wilson Bridge

The fire is in the outer loop portion of the bridge. Smoke has shut down traffic on the inner loop. (Courtesy MDOT)
The fire was in the Outer Loop portion of the bridge. Smoke had shut down traffic on the Inner Loop. (Courtesy “Coach Gator” via Twitter) (Courtesy "Coach Gator" via Twitter)
Wednesday's Wilson Bridge fire apparently began with a collision involving a boom truck. (Courtesy "Coach Gator" via Twitter)
Wednesday’s Wilson Bridge fire apparently began with a collision involving a boom truck. (Courtesy “Coach Gator” via Twitter) (Courtesy "Coach Gator" via Twitter)
The fire is in the outer loop portion of the bridge. Smoke has shut down traffic on the inner loop. (Courtesy MDOT)
The fire was in the Outer Loop portion of the bridge. Smoke shut down traffic on the Inner Loop. (Courtesy MDOT) (Courtesy MDOT)
Heavy smoke rises from the accident site Wednesday morning.(Courtesy Shannon Bishop-Green via Twitter)
Heavy smoke rises from the accident site Wednesday morning. (Courtesy Shannon Bishop-Green via Twitter) (Courtesy Shannon Bishop-Green via Twitter)
The view from Alexandria (Courtesy Fernando Granados via Twitter)
The intense smoke from the blaze was easily seen from nearby Alexandria. (Courtesy Fernando Granados via Twitter) (Courtesy Fernando Granados via Twitter)
The fire is in the outer loop portion of the bridge. Smoke has shut down traffic on the inner loop. (Courtesy MDOT)
The fire was in the Outer Loop portion of the bridge. Smoke shut down traffic on the Inner Loop. (Courtesy MDOT) (Courtesy MDOT)
All lanes were blocked on the Wilson Bridge Wednesday. (Courtesy NBC Washington)
All lanes were blocked on the Wilson Bridge Wednesday. (Courtesy NBC Washington) (Courtesy NBC Washington)
(Courtesy NBC Washington)
Wednesday’s fire, which shut down traffic on the Wilson Bridge, was ignited after a northbound tractor trailer lost control and struck a boom truck and other highway construction vehicles, according to Maryland State Police. (Courtesy NBC Washington) (Courtesy NBC Washington)
A construction worker is lowered onto a police boat that was patrolling the Potomac when its crew heard the boom and saw an explosion the Wilson Bridge. The officers rushed to help and positioned themselves to help rescue bridge workers who were lowered to safety. (Courtesy Prince George's County Police Department via Twitter)
A construction worker is lowered onto a police boat that was patrolling the Potomac when its crew heard the boom and saw an explosion on the Wilson Bridge. The officers rushed to help rescue bridge workers who were lowered to safety. (Courtesy Prince George’s County Police Department via Twitter) (Courtesy Prince George's County)
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The fire is in the outer loop portion of the bridge. Smoke has shut down traffic on the inner loop. (Courtesy MDOT)
Wednesday's Wilson Bridge fire apparently began with a collision involving a boom truck. (Courtesy "Coach Gator" via Twitter)
The fire is in the outer loop portion of the bridge. Smoke has shut down traffic on the inner loop. (Courtesy MDOT)
Heavy smoke rises from the accident site Wednesday morning.(Courtesy Shannon Bishop-Green via Twitter)
The view from Alexandria (Courtesy Fernando Granados via Twitter)
The fire is in the outer loop portion of the bridge. Smoke has shut down traffic on the inner loop. (Courtesy MDOT)
All lanes were blocked on the Wilson Bridge Wednesday. (Courtesy NBC Washington)
(Courtesy NBC Washington)
A construction worker is lowered onto a police boat that was patrolling the Potomac when its crew heard the boom and saw an explosion the Wilson Bridge. The officers rushed to help and positioned themselves to help rescue bridge workers who were lowered to safety. (Courtesy Prince George's County Police Department via Twitter)

WASHINGTON — A fatal traffic collision and fire Wednesday shut down a portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge for hours and impacted traffic in the surrounding area.

The fire occurred in the Outer Loop lanes of the bridge around 11 a.m. The blaze was ignited after a northbound tractor trailer lost control and struck a boom truck and two other highway construction vehicles, according to Maryland State Police.

That crash killed the tractor-trailer’s driver.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” one witness told NBC Washington.


For a map of current traffic conditions, check out WTOP’s Traffic page.


Seven others were treated and released, said Denny Chatel, assistant fire chief for Prince George’s Fire/EMS. One was taken to the hospital.

Response to the accident involved four jurisdictions and an estimated 100 personnel, Chatel said.

Heavy smoke from the fire shut down the Inner Loop for about an hour. Outer Loop local lanes in the area reopened on the bridge later Wednesday afternoon, but through lanes remain closed in that direction until just before 11 p.m. amid the ongoing investigation and cleanup.

Major backups continued into the evening rush hour on southbound Interstate 295, as well as on the Inner Loop from Branch Avenue toward MGM National Harbor.

Several workers who were working under the bridge were left stranded when the fire started but were rescued, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George Fire/EMS Department.

A police boat was patrolling the Potomac, Prince George’s County police said, when officers aboard saw the explosion near the bridge. The boat and officers on board were able to position themselves to help rescue the workers who were lowered down to the boat.

D.C. and Alexandria Fire Services sent trucks and fire boats to help fight the blaze.

WTOP’s Dave Dildine and Ana Srikanth contributed to this report.


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