Homeless Encampment Under I-35 In Duluth Catches Fire, Burning Freeway Before Being Put Out

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DULUTH, Minn. — Part of I-35 northbound caught on fire on Monday evening in Duluth because of the large homeless encampment underneath it, according to the city’s fire department.

It happened near the Mesaba-Superior Street exit around 6 p.m.

Crews didn’t find anyone in the camp during their search efforts, and no one was hurt from the fire.

Firefighters did discover a few propane tanks and gasoline under the road, however, with one of the tanks leaking propane that caused the fire to accelerate.

Multiple areas below the freeway were all on fire, and that wasn’t the only challenge firefighters dealt with.

The Duluth assistant fire chief, Dennis Edwards, said there was also drug paraphernalia scattered around the homeless encampment that firefighters had to dodge.

It took almost and hour-and-a-half to put the fire out, which not only caused traffic problems, but it shut down the railroad tracks as well.

A crew with Ames Construction that happened to be working in the area helped firefighters by sharing water from their tanker truck. Edwards said their help saved them a lot of time in fighting the fire, while also negating the need to run hoses over the train tracks that were still active at the time.

The Duluth fire marshal is investigating the official cause of the fire.

No word yet on whether I-35 has suffered from structural damage from the blaze.

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