I-85 fire suspect issued bond; Community group organizes behind - CBS46 News

I-85 fire suspect issued bond; Community group organizes behind him

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Basil Eleby received a $10,000 signature bond during a hearing Tuesday morning.  Source: WGCL Basil Eleby received a $10,000 signature bond during a hearing Tuesday morning. Source: WGCL
Eleby Basil from 2014 (Source: Fulton County Jail) Eleby Basil from 2014 (Source: Fulton County Jail)
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

As the man accused of starting a fire that led to the collapse of a portion of Interstate 85 faces a court appearance, a group will hold a rally in support of Basil Eleby.

Eleby received a $10,000 signature bond during a hearing Tuesday morning.

His bond is conditional: Eleby won't be able to go within 1,000 yards of the collapsed section of interstate and won't be able to contact any witnesses in the case. The court further stipulated he'd have to get a job within 60 days and would have to submit to random drug testing. Finally, he cannot violate any laws.

His lawyers say Eleby has a mental illness and is a homeless man and deny he was involved in the fire in any way. They say he is being used as a scapegoat after GDOT stored the flammable materials under the overpass. Authorities allege they have witness testimony which says Eleby started the fire under Interstate 85 while smoking crack-cocaine.

Tuesday's rally aims gather people into the courtroom during the 9 a.m. hearing.

"The Community Coalition in Support of Basil Eleby is concerned that Mr. Eleby is being used as a 'scapegoat' to avoid public scrutiny and accountability regarding the I-85 collapse," the group said on a flyer.

The five attorneys team representing Eleby, said they will do so for no charge, gathered at the Fulton County Courthouse on Friday afternoon and said Eleby, accused of starting the fire which later caused a portion of the interstate to collapse, could be any of our family members.



Authorities allege Eleby started the fire that spread to piles of conduit that have been stored under the overpass near the GA-400 exit for 10 years. Since the fire, the conduit that was stored is nowhere to be found under any bridges across the state.

The failure of the I-85 overpass was so catastrophic that the National Transportation Safety Board wants to monitor the investigation, in part to look into the issue of storing flammable materials under bridges.

"We did an assessment of our bridges, and anything that may have been stored under them, so it's safe to say there are no other locations with this HDPE conduit stored under them here in Georgia," says commissioner Russell McMurry.

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