Multi-car wreck causes raging fire in ramp connecting to Ted Williams Tunnel, snarls traffic

BOSTON — A multi-vehicle crash caused a raging car fire on a ramp connecting to the Ted Williams Tunnel Friday afternoon, snarling traffic and causing people to abandon their cars and run out on foot.

Three cars were involved in a collision on an entrance ramp of I-93 northbound near Albany Street around 4:00 p.m. Boston Deputy Fire Chief James Greene said. One of the vehicles caught fire, quickly spreading flames to the two other involved vehicles.

Of the six vehicle occupants, three suffered minor injuries, Greene said.

Photos and video sent to Boston 25 showed the stopped vehicles engulfed in flames with smoke billowing to the roof of the tunnel.

Julie Brownell was driving into the tunnel with her boyfriend Michael Cram when they encountered traffic and eventually discovered the cars fully engulfed in flames.

“It’s jarring sight to see. I’ve never experienced that before,” Brownell said. “I stopped the car and was thinking, ‘What are we going to do? How are we going to get out of here? And is everyone OK?’”

“At one point, I got out of the car and started going toward it to check, and then I saw another gentleman… took a few steps and completely turned back and then we heard pops and explosions,” Cram added.

Passenger Krystal Collazo was with her cousin heading to Logan Airport when they approached the tunnel fire. As unaware drivers continued to enter the tunnel, Collazo told Boston 25 News she realized they were going to be stuck inside if she didn’t get out and alert drivers behind her.

“My first, initial thought was, ‘Oh, my god. We’re going to get trapped in this tunnel if nobody goes and tells these people to stop,” Collazo said. “I ran like a crazy woman, flailing my arms, screaming… I was telling them to lower their windows, and I was just screaming, ‘There’s a big fire. We have to get out. Please, you have to back up.’”

Many drivers turned around in the congested tunnel while some backed out. State troopers helped guide others out and safely away from the flames.

Several were treated for smoke inhalation, police said.

The eastbound ramp and the Frontage Road ramp on I-93 northbound were closed past 10:00 p.m. as inspectors evaluated the area to see if repairs would be needed.

“The vehicle fire has caused damage in the ramp area, including damage to some lights, wall tiles, and pavement. The scene has been secured, cleaned and is safe for the traveling public. Any damage will be repaired at a later date,” MassDOT said in a statement.

The Boston Fire Department shared photos of the charred husks of the cars destroyed by the fire.

As of 6:00 p.m., the remains of one of the vehicles were still inside the connecting tunnel.

Greene said because one of the vehicles involved was a hybrid, it burned longer than the other two.

Boston 25 News reporter Christine McCarthy was able to see one of the vehicles that caught fire being removed from the tunnel.

First responders could be seen racing down the connecting tunnel, speeding past stopped cars to respond to the raging fire.

A line of cars was backed up heading into the tunnel.

Additional video sent to Boston 25 News showed smoke billowing over the tunnel near the Fort Point Channel.

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