The fire was determined to be arson, CAL FIRE said
LOS ANGELES -- Interstate 10 in Los Angeles is expected to reopen Sunday night and be "fully operational" for the Monday commute following a fire that closed one of the busiest highways in the country, Governor Gavin Newsom said.
"To get us to this point ahead of schedule, 8 days to get this thing open and operational, which if you do the math means that this thing opens tonight and is operational tomorrow," said Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday.
Meanwhile, authorities are seeking to identify a person of interest in connection with the fire, which damaged a large portion of the I-10 freeway near downtown Los Angeles last week.
More work must be done on the freeway overnight before it can be reopened on Monday morning, officials told reporters in a news conference Sunday morning.
CAL FIRE officials said the fire, which was reported shortly after midnight on Nov. 11, was determined to be arson.
CAL FIRE released photos of a person of interest sought in the alleged arson. The individual was described as a man of unknown race, approximately 6' tall and 170 to 190 pounds. The person was captured on surveillance footage wearing a black hoodie, blue shorts, grey shoes, a green scarf, a knee brace on his right knee, and a dark backpack.
"The subject appeared to have visible burn injuries on his left leg," CAL FIRE said in an alert on Saturday.
The person left the immediate area of the I-10 freeway and Alameda Street and has not been located, CAL FIRE said.
The fire broke out underneath the I-10 -- a major east-to-west artery for the city -- and ripped through numerous wooden pallets, trailers, and vehicles stored below the raised interstate, officials said previously. The out-of-control fire burned for three hours and spread over what authorities described as the equivalent of six football fields before it was extinguished. More than 160 firefighters responded to put out the blaze.
About 16 people living underneath the highway were evacuated to shelters, officials said.
A stretch of I-10 freeway between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange has been closed since the fire.
The freeway is on track to reopen by Tuesday, "weeks ahead of schedule," the California Department of Transportation said in an update on Saturday.
A 250-person crew is currently working 24 hours a day at the site to shore up damaged pillars and replace wood posts and steel beams, the agency said.
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