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Fire at homeless encampment damages bridge, causes temporary road closure

The Austin Fire Department said no injuries were reported.
Credit: John Gusky
Austin Fire Department fire truck by John Gusky.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Fire Department said a fire at a homeless encampment near Interstate 35 and Ben White Boulevard burned tents and damaged the bridge Sunday morning.

AFD said the fire happened around 9:30 a.m. near the 700 block of E. Ben White Boulevard, near Bill Miller Bar-B-Q. The frontage road from eastbound Ben White to southbound I-35 was closed as AFD crews awaited the arrival of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) crews to assess the damage to the bridge. 

At 1:23 p.m., TxDOT said the frontage road had reopened.

AFD said they do not believe the damage to the bridge is significant. The fire has been extinguished but crews remain on the scene. 

AFD said investigators have ruled the cause of the fire accidental, caused by a candle too close to a combustible. A subject was arrested for interference with a public official.

No injuries were reported.

No additional information is available at this time. 

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