Intense Van Fire Closes Boulevard

A van burned along one of the busiest area roadways overnight causing traffic closures and an investigation into how the van got there.

Someone called 911 around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday to alert authorities that the full-sized van was on fire in a no stopping area along the outer lanes of the Roosevelt Boulevard southbound near Strahle Street in the Rhawnhurst section of Northeast Philadelphia.

When firefighters arrived the Ford work van was fully engulfed and they discovered that 300 gallons of a flammable liquid appeared to be inside the van.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small described the intensity of the blaze:

“Not only was the van fully engulfed but there were two large trees along the sidewalk of the Roosevelt Boulevard that also caught on fire and some of the grass along the 8400 block of Roosevelt Boulevard was also on fire.”

It took firefighters about 20 minutes of pouring foam onto the fire to put out the blaze. The outer lane of the Boulevard southbound remained closed more than five hours after the blaze began.

Authorities called out the bomb squad at one point because of the undisclosed flammable liquid inside the burning vehicle.

The license plate appeared to be taken off the van before the fire began. Authorities said they would investigate this incident as a possible arson.

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