Bridge fire shuts SoCal freeway in Hesperia (updated)

All directions of the 15 Freeway in Hesperia were shut down after 2 p.m. Monday due to fire.
All directions of the 15 Freeway in Hesperia were shut down after 2 p.m. Monday due to fire.

Click here to read the latest story on the I-15 shutdown.

Update: 7:30 p.m. At the Outpost Cafe and Truck Stop in Hesperia, an unfortunate (one- to two-day) traffic delay is turning out to be good for business. Via the southbound I-15, it is located one stop before the Ranchero Road overpass that collapsed Monday afternoon after a construction crew blowtorch set the bridge ablaze. Transit authorities shut down the interstate and rerouted commuters.

Monday evening, Outpost server Cecille Jimenez told KPCC that business was about double what it usually is on a Monday night. "We’re waiting to get an even bigger dinner rush because I’m sure there’s a lot of people getting hungry on the freeway. I have a lot of people coming in saying it’s been taking them a few hours just to get off the exit. It’s been pretty crazy."

They've also been having to accommodate travelers with non-food related requests. "A lot of the other people, their phones are dying. They’re asking us if we have chargers... I went to the office and wrote down directions and made photocopies for everybody because we’ve been getting a lot of people that have been asking [how to reroute]. So we’ve just been trying to help out the people," said Jimenez.

Unfortunately, the Outpost Cafe closes at 10 p.m., so some stranded commuters will have to find their food — and directions — elsewhere.

Update: 6:42 p.m. According to a CalTrans press release, both directions of the I-15 will be closed at the Ranchero Road Overpass in Hesperia until further notice. The agency tweeted that the closure may last 24 to 28 hours, and suggested Routes 138 and 18 as alternates.

Update 3:41 p.m. All three lanes of Interstate 15 in Hesperia are closed in both directions after a construction worker's blowtorch caught the overpass bridge's wooden supports on fire.

The freeway is Southern California's main connector to Las Vegas and has been closed since 1:30 p.m. Monday because of debris that has already fallen onto the freeway.

"Because it's a bridge that's under construction, you have lots of wood and some steel beams, [and] a little bit of concrete. So, having that wood and everything exposed and not covered up in concrete makes it a lot easier for this debris to fall onto the freeway," Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga told KPCC.

San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Josh Wilkins says the fire was ruled accidental and one worker suffered from smoke inhalation.

Wilkins says there's great concern that the wooden skeleton of the football-sized bridge will collapse.

He says a third of it has burned and Caltrans engineers are monitoring its status. There are 55 firefighters battling the flames that are being fanned by 20 to 35 mph wind gusts.

Firefighters have limited access to water with the nearest hydrant half a mile away.

— AP with KPCC

Previously: The I-15 is closed in Hesperia as crews battle a fire on a bridge that's under construction, according to NBCLA

Tweet about the fire

All directions of the freeway were shut down after 2 p.m. Monday due to fire.

Map of fire

This story will be updated.