State fire officials made a preliminary determination that a huge fire that engulfed a section of Interstate 10 in Los Angeles was caused with malicious intent and was a criminal act of arson, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. Newsom said investigators are trying to determine if one person or more were involved. He urged the public to call a confidential line with any information that could lead to the determination of who was responsible. "I have to stress that we have determined what started the fire," Newsom said. The blaze left many columns charred and chipped and the deck guardrails twisted. Crews shored up the most damaged section for the safety of workers clearing the debris. It’s still unclear what structural damage, if any, the blaze caused to the freeway, according to USA Today. The highway will be closed to commuters indefinitely and it's unknown how long the repair or replacement could take.
Mayor Karen Bass explained that "losing this stretch of the 10 freeway will take time and money from people's lives and businesses." Department officials advised commuters to work from home or take public transportation if possible. Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said that some school bus routes were slated to change and indicated that the impact could be widespread. Drivers were tested Monday during the first weekday commute since the Sunday fire. Some freeway exits backed up as drivers were forced to use crowded surface streets to bypass the damaged freeway stretch south of downtown. Cellphones blasted with a predawn reminder for residents to plan different routes or expect significant delays. Bass said the fire caused heavy damage but promised that the rebuilding would become "a new model for speed."