Georgia

The Latest: 3 arrested in Atlanta fire and overpass collapse

Basil Eleby is escorted by his public defender and two Fulton County Sheriff's office officers into the court room at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta  on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Eleby, accused of starting a raging fire that collapsed a portion of Interstate 85 a few miles north of downtown Atlanta was charged with arson.  The first-degree arson charge was added to a first-degree criminal damage to property charge Eleby already faced in connection with the fire Thursday evening that caused a heavily traveled overpass to disintegrate. Total bond was set at $200,000.  (Henry P. Taylor/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

Basil Eleby is escorted by his public defender and two Fulton County Sheriff's office officers into the court room at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Saturday, April 1, 2017. Eleby, accused of starting a raging fire that collapsed a portion of Interstate 85 a few miles north of downtown Atlanta was charged with arson. The first-degree arson charge was added to a first-degree criminal damage to property charge Eleby already faced in connection with the fire Thursday evening that caused a heavily traveled overpass to disintegrate. Total bond was set at $200,000. (Henry P. Taylor/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on the fire that caused an overpass to collapse in Atlanta (all times local):

11:10 a.m.

The man suspected of starting a raging fire that collapsed a portion of Interstate 85 a few miles north of downtown Atlanta has a court appearance scheduled.

The Fulton County Sheriff's Office says Basil Eleby faces a felony charge of criminal damage to property and is scheduled for his first court appearance Saturday morning.

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence said Eleby was arrested Friday along with Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas. Bruner and Thomas were charged with criminal trespass.

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The collapse of a span of Interstate 85 in Atlanta during a raging fire isn't the first time intense heat has taken out a stretch of elevated roadway.

Georgia officials say repairing damaged sections of I-85 north of downtown Atlanta will take months. That's made traffic even more miserable for commuters in a city already known for gridlock.

Three people were arrested Friday in connection with the fire, and officials suspect one of them of setting it.

Lauren Stewart, director of the structural engineering laboratory at Georgia Tech, said intense fire can break down even materials such as steel-reinforced concrete.

Andy Herrmann, a retired partner with the New York-based engineering firm Hardesty & Hanover, said there have been rare instances of gasoline trucks crashing and causing fires that damaged overpasses.