The 10 Freeway remains closed in both directions after a fire erupted at two pallet yards underneath the freeway early Saturday morning, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The fire was reported at 1:46 a.m. at a storage yard underneath the 10 Freeway at Alameda and 14th streets in downtown Los Angeles.
A SigAlert was issued and the freeway was shut down, causing backups. Caltrans said the freeway would be closed indefinitely, with no exact timeline as to when it would reopen.
A group of 160 LA firefighters and 26 companies were on scene to battle the intense flames.
“It’s quite a large population of people experiencing homelessness living out here on these streets and RVs and makeshift homes, and they were all driven back by the heat but none of them luckily were injured,” David Ortiz, Public Information Officer for LAFD, said.
There were a lot of combustible materials under the freeway including pallets, shipping containers and vehicles.
Firefighters were spraying over 1,000 gallons of water per minute, to the point where they exceeded the capabilities of their hydrant system, Ortiz said.
There were homeless encampments nearby as well as storage containers. The high levels of heat are what caused structural damage to the freeway as well as partially melted the front of a fire truck.
Ortiz said the fire was so intense that it traveled from one side of the street onto the other and got into another storage yard.
Some of the guard rails on the off-ramp were melted from the heat as well as some pillars of the freeway.
The freeway will remain closed until Caltrans deems the highway safe, LAFD said. Traffic was being diverted eastbound at Alameda and westbound at Santa Fe, LAFD said.
The California Highway Patrol says the closure could last days as city engineers work to determine the structural integrity.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. There were no reports of injuries.
Source: NBC Los Angeles