Navigation
  •  
HFP

Pics: PA bridge collapses hours before Biden trip to talk infrastructure

Ambulance (Dreamstime/TNS)
January 28, 2022

A bridge in Pittsburgh, Pa. collapsed on Friday, injuring 10 people just hours before President Joe Biden was set to visit the city to address infrastructure.

Pittsburg Public Safety confirmed the bridge collapse on Twitter at 6:50 a.m. Friday and asked the public to stay away from the area.

“ALERT: Please avoid the area of Forbes and Braddock for a confirmed bridge collapse. Fire, EMS, and Police responding. No reported injuries at this time. Updates will be provided,” Pittsburg Public Safety tweeted.

KDKA posted a photo of the aftermath, which showed a Port Authority bus and four other vehicles among the wreckage on the Fern Hollow Bridge near Forbes and Braddock avenues in Frick Park.  

Chief Darryl Jones of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire said three people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the collapse, The Washington Post reported.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey told reporters that police, fire and EMS all responded to the collapse. He also noted that first responders are working to ensure no one is trapped under the debris.

“The good thing at this point is that there are no fatalities, and we’re going to pray there are no fatalities,” Gainey said. “We were fortunate.”

Jones said the cause of the bridge collapse was being investigated, and Gainey said the bridge — built in 1970 — was most recently inspected in September last year.

Adam Brandolph, a Port Authority spokesman, told the Post that a driver and two passengers managed to escape the incident unharmed.

“We are extremely thankful that no one from the bus reported any injuries, and grateful for the first responders who risked their own lives to save others,” Brandolph said.

A “strong smell of natural gas” was also detected in the area of the collapse, a Public Safety official said, due to a damaged gas line. Nearby homes were temporarily evacuated as a result.

The incident occurred just hours before Biden was scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh to talk about infrastructure. His trip includes a stop at the research and development hub of Mill 19, the Post reported.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that the collapse will not impact Biden’s trip.

“@POTUS is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time,” Psaki wrote. “The President will proceed with trip planned for today and will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide.”

Local resident Wendy Stroh told KDKA that she found the incident “very frightening” because “just the thought of the bridge collapsing is a scary prospect.”

“I cross that bridge all the time,” she added.