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3 cars catch fire in Boston's Ted Williams Tunnel after crash

3 people injured after cars burst into flames in Ted Williams Tunnel
3 people injured after cars burst into flames in Ted Williams Tunnel 02:34

BOSTON - Three cars caught on fire in the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston after a crash Friday afternoon. It happened just after 4 p.m. on the HOV ramp from I-93 north to I-90 east.

One witness told WBZ-TV she heard several loud bangs, a pause and then several more. She also reported seeing people running out of the tunnel and another witness said debris had fallen on her car. 

Several people treated for smoke inhalation

Boston firefighters quickly extinguished two of the cars on fire. The third was hybrid, which took longer to put out, according to Boston Fire. 

There were six people in the cars. Three people were taken to the hospital by Boston EMS. State Police said several people were treated for smoke inhalation. 

Ted Williams Tunnel fire
Three cars caught on fire in the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston Boston Fire

Michael Cram was inside the tunnel at the time. "The first thought is with those flames, is everyone OK, then OK, are we OK," Cram said. "So we start to see the smoke and the flames."

Cram was riding in a car that Julie Brownell was driving. The two had just pulled onto the on ramp of I-90 east from the South End.

"I had the windows down and sunroof open and we could here popping," Brownell said. "I didn't know if parts of the car were exploding or what was really going on. Like Michael said, there was so much smoke you could barely even see."

Cram says he tried to run toward the cars to check on passengers, but the flames and popping grew too intense.

Tunnel fire Boston
Fire in Ted Williams Tunnel on May 24, 2024. Michael Cram

He described a coordinated dance as drivers helped one another turn cars around. They worked to make room for first responders.

"It was kind of this little dance that everyone was doing which actually went a lot quicker than I thought," Cram said. "Everyone kind of came together."

The burned cars were pulled out of the tunnel and towed to a nearby state police barracks.

"It's really scary to see. It's like a complete shell of a vehicle," Brownell said. "We are just grateful that everyone is OK."

Two ramps closed after fire

The fire brought traffic to a standstill during the start of the holiday travel weekend.

The HOV eastbound ramp and the Frontage Road ramp were closed for almost six hours after the fire. All of the debris was removed and the ramps were reopened by 10 p.m. 

The fire caused damage to lights, wall tiles and pavement in the ramp area. The road is safe for travel and the damage will be repaired at a later date, according to MassDOT.

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