Every article and broadcast about the calamity contains the lie that the burning gasoline caused "steel beams" to melt, which in turn caused the freeway to collapse. This reporter dutifully repeats the claim even as the accompanying video footage shows no molten steel. But as these pictures show, there were no steel beams.
This section of freeway is near the portions of the Bay Bridge and Cypress Street Viaduct that were badly damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Post-earthquake investigations revealed that the lack of steel reinforcement in the mostly concrete roadway led to the widespread damage. This photo shows damage to the Cypress Street Viaduct after the earthquake. The freeway in Sunday's collapse is constructed of the same material. See any steel?
Here's what happened Sunday: The burning gasoline caused the asphalt to crack, which in turn caused the weight to shift, making it impossible for the built-in rebar supports to carry the weight. The rebar bent and the roadway collapsed. Notice, too, that a portion of the freeway collapsed, causing part of the structure to topple sideways. It did not collapse straight to the ground in a free-fall, and the undamaged part remained standing. Also, no nearby buildings inexplicably caught fire and collapsed either.