Bridge Fire Shuts Southern California Freeway

A stretch of Southern Cailfornia freeway could be closed through Tuesday after a construction worker's blowtorch caught the overpass bridge's wooden supports on fire.

Both directions of the 15 Freeway near Ranchero Road in Hesperia were shut down at 1:30 p.m. Monday due to the fire that sent debris falling onto the highway below, fire officials said.

It took more than 60 firefighters to battle the flames against wind gusts up to 35 mph.

The freeway is Southern California's main connector to Las Vegas.

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

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

He said a third of it has burned and Caltrans engineers are monitoring its status.

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

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