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Brush Fire Halts Rush Hour Traffic at 605/405 Transition

A homeless encampment is cited as the cause of the blaze, which is now extinguished.

A homeless encampment was blamed for a Wednesday afternoon brush fire that slowed traffic on the south 605 Freeway near the transition to the 405, the CHP said.

The fire broke out just after 4 p.m., creating billowing black smoke and slowing rush hour traffic to a crawl. In response, Long Beach firefighters asked the CHP to shut down the slow lane.

The blaze was extinguished by 5 p.m. and the lane reopened, a Highway Patrol spokesman Ray Payton said.

Earlier reports blamed the fire on a vehicle that struck an embankment, but the CHP later revised the story.

It's unclear what steps Caltrans might take to deal with the homeless encampment. A in the same area.

Angel Garcia February 23, 2012 at 04:05 AM
I was stuck in this. Not too happy about it.
Paige Austin February 23, 2012 at 05:26 AM
I was thinking you might be. At least you got a leisurely opportunity to take in all the freeway construction work happening as part of the West County Connector Project...
Shawn Pearson February 23, 2012 at 05:38 AM
All homeless encampments along the freeway and other rights of way should be immediately abolished. We owe nothing to these illegally squatting vagrants. They are a blight on our highways and, as in this case, cause needless delay to the working class, potential risk of life and limb of our heroic firefighters.
met00 February 24, 2012 at 06:55 AM
Shawn, maybe we could use them for NRA target practice since they seem to serve no useful purpose in your world. I actually had the opportunity to meet one of these "blight"s, well, he wasn't always a vagrant. He was a Marine. He was unable to get work (because of his PTS, which the VA says he didn't have - he can't concentrate enough to hold even the most menial position) and has resorted to "living where people can't see me." Welcome home boys. We sent you to fight a war and when you get back you are, what did you just call him? An "illegally squating vagrant" and a "blight". Forget root cause or attempting to adress it, as long as you aren't bothered on your commute and don't have to see them, that's all that maters. This is such a sad commentary on what our society has become.

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