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Crews combat lethal carbon dioxide, toxic gas levels in tunnel blaze

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San Jose firefighters have entered a service tunnel to extinguish a blaze inside the northbound state Highway 87 bridge over Willow Street. The fire was reported at 11:54 a.m. and Willow is currently closed, according to fire officials. Drivers are being redirected off of northbound Highway 87.

Capt. Mitch Matlow said the fire is burning in a service tunnel inside the bridge and firefighters have entered two of four holes to combat flames. He said firefighters found piles of trash inside but no people. Temperatures have dropped from over 700 degrees inside the tunnel about two hours ago but high carbon dioxide and toxic gas levels are still creating a lethal environment. No injuries have been reported as of 4 p.m. San Jose fire officials have requested mutual aid from Santa Clara County.

There is no longer heavy smoke coming out of the tunnel and fire officials are “slowly and safely” determining whether there are any remaining hotspots, Matlow said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and drivers are asked to avoid the area for at least the next two hours.

San Jose Fire Department A fire was reported in a service tunnel on a northbound state Highway 87 bridge over Willow Street in San Jose, Calif. July 16, 2019.

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