Massive Fire Closes Major LA Interstate, Arson To Blame

A massive fire broke out in Los Angeles underneath Interstate 10 Saturday, damaging the structure and causing a closure, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters needing to find alternative routes.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced Monday that arson was determined to be the cause of the fire.

City Fire Chief Kristin Crowley said that flames were reported around 12:20 a.m. Saturday, which ripped through two storage lots in an industrial area beneath I-10, burning parked cars, stacks of wooden pallets, and support poles for high-tension power lines.

Los Angeles is notorious for its homeless population, which has many speculating that the fire was started by a homeless person. It has been reported that fires happened up to 24 times a day in homeless encampments.

Mayor Karen Bass stressed that there was no initial information that would link the fire to the homeless people in the area, and she urged the public not to jump to that conclusion.

At least 16 homeless people, including a pregnant woman, living underneath the freeway were taken to shelters. More than 160 firefighters responded to the blaze, which spread across 8 acres and burned for three hours.

There were no injuries reported.

Residents were told Monday to avoid any unnecessary travel and to work from home if possible. They were also encouraged to use public transportation to limit the amount of traffic.

Newsom stated that more than 100 columns along the swath of the freeway were damaged, with at least nine of them being severely damaged.

He also reported that officials have determined that the elevated section of I-10 will not need to be demolished, based on analysis of core samples taken from the freeway. He declared that it could take between three and five weeks to clear.

Some residents are urging Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit the city to speed up the cleanup.

No arrests have been made yet. Newsom said that investigators are trying to determine how many people were involved in the arson.

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