1 dead, 3 rescued after fatal crash on Wilson Bridge sparks fire, traps workers underneath

- Emergency crews rescued three workers who were trapped by fire underneath the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Wednesday after a deadly multi-vehicle crash ignited a blaze and for a period of time closed all lanes of traffic in both directions.

Crews are still working on cleanup and continuing the investigation, however, all southbound and northbound local lanes are open.

The fire was reported around 11 a.m. on the outer-loop lanes of the bridge. Assistant Fire Chief with Prince George's County Fire Denny Chatel says there were four vehicles involved in the crash, one of which was a tractor-trailer, and three construction vehicles.

Images from the scene show a tractor-trailer truck and a work truck both in flames.

Officials say there were construction workers who were underneath the bridge in a bucket at the end of an extended arm from a work truck when the crash happened. The boom truck operator was uninjured.

"There was one bridge worker on the boom truck operating the boom with three workers in the boom truck operating underneath the bridge. All in all we had eight patients that we evaluated -- all but one was treated and released," said Chatel.

Officials say the driver of the semi died from the crash.

Nick Kunesh says he was working on the park nearby when he heard several explosions.

"I knew it wasn't good. It was probably a petroleum product of one sort or another because it was not a single car accident, there was no doubt about it. By the time I came closer to the bridge, I was about three hundred yards away to the river and by the time I got to the river there were secondary explosions, probably four or five of them is what I heard," he said.

Prince George's County police say their Marine Unit was patrolling the Potomac when they heard a boom and saw an explosion on the bridge. The officers rushed to help, positioning themselves to help rescue bridge workers who were lowered to safety.

Maryland State Police say the tractor-trailer was empty and first crashed into a work vehicle protecting the boom truck. The tractor-trailer and the boom truck immediately caught fire. 

Officials say there were 40 units, bringing 100 crew members to the scene. Prince George's County fire, Fairfax County fire and DC fire were among the crews who responded to the crash and subsequent blaze.

Workers who were under the bridge were wearing hats that say they worked for McLain. One worker said they were doing inspections from the bucket when the truck was struck on the bridge.

Prince George's County Fire says the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Officials say all lanes on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge have reopened except for the left lane of the northbound Interstate 95 main line.

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