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Car fire in Fort McHenry Tunnel causes major rush hour delays

Car fire in Fort McHenry Tunnel causes major rush hour delays
A truck fire inside the Fort McHenry tunnels causes major backups on Tuesday, August 13. (Lazette Wells / Handout)

A car fire inside the southbound Ft. McHenry Tunnel Tuesday morning cause major delays during rush hour traffic, the Baltimore City Fire Department said.

Just past 7 a.m. the department received a call for a “number of cars” on fire, department spokeswoman Blair Adams said. Though, it’s unclear how many cars were on fire. Photos and videos from the scene posted online show at least one truck engulfed in flames.

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After firefighters arrived and began extinguishing the fires, complaints about breathing problems began, Adams said.

“Smoke was coming from inside the tunnel as the firefighters were putting out the fires,” the spokeswoman said.

Despite the complaints, Adams said there were no reported injuries or hospital transports.

The Office of Emergency Management tweeted that the left tube for the southbound tunnel was shut down for a period of time and urged drivers to find an alternate route. Just after 8:30 a.m., the Maryland Transportation Authority tweeted delays continued due to cleanup efforts.

Lazette A. Wells, 45, takes the tunnel everyday to work. She was about halfway through it on her usual commute when she came to standstill for over 30 minutes. Then, Wells heard what she thought was the burning car explode.

“I could hear the explosions. I hoped [the officer] wasn’t close to the fire," she said.

“It started getting dark quickly,” the Baltimore resident continued. “I was mostly concerned about smoke inhalation. ... I started looking at my car to make sure no smoke could get in.”

Wells said authorities eventually directed her and the other drivers to back up out of the tunnel.

“It was a pretty organized effort once we realized we had to back up," she said. “They did a good job making sure one lane was clear and back us up out of the tunnel.”

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