California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in response to the massive freeway fire that has indefinitely closed a portion of the 10 freeway on Nov. 10.
Newsom, L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, Caltrans, and other state and local officials toured the site of the fire that was initially blamed on a fire from a nearby homeless encampment.
“The fire started at a homeless encampment and quickly spread to a storage facility with pallets and vehicles such as trucks. The fire was 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,” reported the Santa Monica Observer.
The Santa Monica based news source went so far as to post before and after photos of the alleged culprit.
But according to state officials and Bass, that’s not true.
Officials said there was no immediate indication that the blaze began at the encampment, as reported by KABC.
When Newsom addressed reporters after touring the site, what was found indicates a dispute between the tenant and the state, who leased them the property, could be the source of the fire.
“You name it, we saw it stored at this site,” said Newsom, who toured the location briefly. Wooden pallets, cars filled with gas and boxes of oranges have all been found under the Los Angeles bridge, officials said.
When asked by reporters why the flammable material was allowed to be stored under the bridge, the governor said, “That’s all being assessed.”
Newsom said the tenant of the site is in violation of their lease. “We’re in litigation, their lease has expired and we have been aggressive in addressing concerns as it relates to the lease itself,” he said.
According to Newsom, officials believe the tenant “subleased the space … with multiple subleases, that’s part of the litigation posture.”
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