Sacramento Firefighters Called to Overpass Fire, Find Person Living in Panel

Vincent Moleski

The Sacramento Bee

(MCT)

Sep. 26—Sacramento firefighters were called out to a highway overpass Sunday morning to extinguish a fire — but found that someone had been living inside.

The Sacramento Fire Department said in a social media update that personnel were sent out to eastbound Highway 160 near Capital City Freeway at 7:30 a.m. due to a fire inside the overpass.

There, firefighters found that someone had removed an access panel and had been living inside.

Department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said that although the access panel isn’t very large, it leads to an inner passage.

Inside this passage, firefighters found a mattress and other personal belongings. The resident of the overpass had already left when firefighters arrived, according to Wade.

“They’re using it for shelter, but the problem is a fire starts somehow and it can damage the bridge internally,” he said.

Because the interior is mostly closed off, special care had to be taken to monitor the air for fumes from the fire.

Wade said instances of fires igniting inside overpasses are relatively rare — he can recall three in the past 20 years. But noting the recent fire at homeless encampments along Roseville Road, Wade said “it tells a bigger story about our critical infrastructure.”

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