DC pedestrian bridge collapse injures 6, shuts down traffic

5 victims have been transported to local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries

At least six people have been injured after a pedestrian bridge collapsed in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, according to city fire and emergency service officials. 

Fox 5 DC reported that the collapse took place at DC-295 between Kenilworth Avenue and Polk Street NE at around 12 p.m.

D.C. deputy mayor for public safety, Chris Geldart, told reporters at a briefing Wednesday afternoon that a preliminary investigation determined the collapse was caused by a collision at approximately 11:52 a.m. that separated the bridge from its moorings and spurred multiple vehicle crashes. 

Geldart noted paramedics rushed five victims to nearby hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. Fire and EMS officials determined nobody else was trapped in the debris. 

A hazmat unit was dispatched Wednesday afternoon to address a diesel fuel leak from a roll-off truck partially beneath the bridge. 

Geldart later confirmed in a Wednesday evening briefing that the incident report from the Metropolitan Police Department found that the truck, which got on DC-295 after leaving a nearby construction yard, forgot to lower its hydraulic boom, which collided with the bridge and caused the collapse. In addition, the driver of the truck was confirmed to be one of the five victims hospitalized.

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Initially, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that there were no structural concerns about the bridge, and Geldart said a February inspection found that the bridge was "structurally sound." 

However, Geldart, who emphasized that investigators' initial findings were preliminary, later backtracked significantly in a new statement: "Bridge 66 was inspected in February 2021 resulting in a May 25th inspection report giving the bridge a rating of poor condition." 

The poor rating was due to the bridge's decking, Geldart said. 

DC Fire and EMS services confirmed Thursday morning that DC-295 has reopened after crews worked through the evening to clear the debris.