Homeless man charged with arson in Atlanta highway bridge fire

An Atlanta, Georgia homeless man was charged with arson Saturday in connection with a fiery explosion that caused the collapse of a bridge along a section of Interstate 85.

As reported by USA TODAY, the arson charge was added to an earlier charge of first-degree criminal damage to property following the arrest of Basil Eleby. He was ordered held on $200,000 bond.

Fulton County jail records show Eleby had been in and out of jail numerous times on drug, assault and trespass charges.

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Jay Florence said two other people, Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas, had also been charged with criminal trespass.

“We believe they were together when the fire was set and Eleby is the one who set the fire,” Florence said.

Florence did not discuss how the fire was started or why.

There were no deaths or injuries in the explosion and fire, but the bridge collapse severed the vital roadway that runs north-south through downtown Atlanta.