A fire at a homeless encampment in downtown St. Paul spread quickly to about seven tents early Friday.
No injuries were reported. Multiple propane tanks and cylinders, which people use for heating and cooking, were found at the Kellogg Mall Park.
“Investigators suspect the use of open flames for heating near easily combustible material as the potential cause of the fire,” the St. Paul fire department said in a statement. It’s under investigation, but presumed to be accidental.
Firefighters responded to a 911 call shortly after 2 a.m. Friday about a large fire at the encampment off Kellogg Boulevard. Thirty-five fire department personnel were at the scene for about an hour and firefighters extinguished the fire.
The city is planning to close the Kellogg Mall Park encampment on Monday, along with eight other sites in the next few weeks, because officials say they pose public health risks.
The fire department has responded to the Kellogg Boulevard park 17 times for fire emergencies and 75 times for emergency medical calls for service this year. There was a fire there Sunday and 12 propane tanks were found inside the burned out tent area.
There were 36 people living at the Kellogg Mall Park encampment at last count, according to the city.
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