Arson is being blamed for a fire that closed the Garden State Parkway in Brick and Lakewood for over 10 hours from Wednesday afternoon until the early hours of Thursday.

State Police said the fire was set around 5 p.m. by several people, possibly juveniles, inside the culvert that runs underneath the Garden State Parkway from the Exit 91 north entrance ramp to the 91 south exit ramp in Brick.

Several people were seen running toward the Evergreen Woods Park Apartment Complex after the fire was set, according to State Police.

Video of the fire shows flames coming from the mouth of the culvert.

The culvert is 5 feet in diameter and runs beneath both the north and south lanes of the Parkway.

Garden State Parkway near Exit 91 in Brick during a fire 1/20/22
Garden State Parkway near Exit 91 in Brick during a fire 1/20/22 (The Lakewood Scoop)
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Parkway closure during commute

The Parkway was closed between Exits 91 and 98 just after 5 p.m., causing miles of delays in both directions as thick, black smoke filled the air.

There was also heavy traffic on Routes 9, 18, 34, 35 and 70 by drivers trying to avoid the closure. Burnt Tavern Road over the Parkway was also closed.

Nearby residents were not evacuated because of the fire especially after it was determined that it was not a brush fire as originally thought.

Residents of the Evergreen Woods townhouse complex near the Parkway told Patch of Toms River the fire left a smokey smell in their units.

State Police asked any witnesses to the fire being set or any other information to contact the Holmdel Station at 732-441-4526.

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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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