Fire at Homeless Encampment Under Santa Monica Freeway, Closes the Main East West Highway in Los Angeles County for 3 to 5 Weeks
"I-10 will be FULLY CLOSED until further notice between the East LA Connector and Alameda St due to a fire that damaged the freeway". CalTrans
November 13, 2023
11.13: A fire Saturday morning under the 10 freeway has closed the interstate for 3 to 12 weeks, while the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) repairs damage to a bridge. The fire started at a homeless encampment and quickly spread to a storage facility with pallets and vehicles such as trucks. The fire quickly became too intense for firemen to put out quickly. It burned for about 8 hours starting at 4 am Saturday morning. 150 firefighters, 12 trucks and a helicopter were involved in the fight.
According to David Ortiz, public information officer for the Los Angeles Fire Department, a number of RV's housing homeless people were parked under the bridge. The area also has a large homeless encampment consisting of tents.
Homeless people routinely steal electricity from light fixtures, which of course creates a fire hazard. The Los Angeles County Fire Department says that 50% of fires in LA County begin in homeless encampments or originate with homeless people.
Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for Los Angeles County. Mayor Karen Bass has asked traffic officials to consider how to mitigate traffic with the coming work week. Bass is encouraging employers in DTLA to ask their employees to work from home.
"Both directions of the 10 Freeway near Alameda in Downtown Los Angeles are shutdown following a massive pallet fire. @LAFD on scene. CALTRANS is determining if the structural integrity of the freeway has been compromised."
On Saturday 11.11.23, @Caltrans tweeted: "I-10 will be FULLY CLOSED until further notice between the East LA Connector and Alameda St due to a fire that damaged the freeway. Avoids the area, expect major delays & seek alternate routes to events in #DTLA or use @metrolosangeles public transportation."
LA CITY sent this text message Sunday: "I-10 freeway closed both ways in downtown LA. Take alternative routes & expect delays. Detour Info: emergency.lacity.gov/updates..."
It's unclear how much work will have to be done to make the freeway safe again. But in photos posted to X.com formerly twitter, scorching and damage is visible to freeway supports. 400 feet of the I-10, among the busiest freeways in the world, must be rebuilt, authorities said Sunday.
Homeless people start cooking fires in their encampments. Authorities deal with several fires a day near Los Angeles County freeways, as there are 100,000 homeless people living in LA County. The empty land bordering freeways is considered choice locations for homeless encampments.