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Three People Have Been Charged Over That Massive Highway Fire In Atlanta

Although nobody was killed or injured, the incident caused a major interstate to collapse and will take months to rebuild.

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Fire Department spokesperson Sergeant Cortez Stafford told BuzzFeed News that investigators, along with the help of state fire marshals, have now identified the suspects as Basil Eleby, Barry Thomas, and Sophia Brauer.

Eleby, 39, “is the individual we are holding responsible for the fire and Fire Investigators believe it was set maliciously after questioning the suspect," Stafford said in an email.

He has been charged with first-degree criminal damage to property.

Thomas and Brauer each have been charged with criminal trespassing, the sergeant said.

Atlanta Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry said during a press conference Friday that three sections each on the north- and southbound sides of Interstate 85 will need to be removed and completely rebuilt.

McMurry added that while officials could not give a firm estimate of how long it would take to fully restore the roads, “you should know that this will take take at least several months to rebuild.”

According to McMurry, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal had spoken with US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who authorized the release of $10 million to “advance the replacement of the damaged area.”

Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based Nairobi, Kenya.

Contact Tamerra Griffin at

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