Tulsa Emergency Crews Respond To Underground Homeless Camp Fire

Thursday, January 9th 2020, 3:55 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy

Tulsa firefighters said a homeless camp underneath a Tulsa street caught on fire.

Firefighters responded after getting calls about smoke coming up from storm drains near 7th and Memorial.

"There was bedding there, there was boards with nails in them where they had some clothes hanging, a coffee cup hanging up, and several portions of fencing like maybe the individual could have had a pet and put fencing up on both sides so it wouldn't get out," said Tulsa Fire spokesperson Andy Little.

Little said it took firefighters and HazMat to put the fire out.

"The entrance you would be able to fit in or where a person would normally enter, was not actually that close to where the bedding and material was. They had to kind of move that line in a way to get to it," said Little.

Thankfully, no one was inside when fire crews got down to the source of the smoke.

"Unfortunately, it is not super uncommon to find things like this in storm drains," said Little.

The Salvation Army is just one of many organizations in Tulsa who works every day to make sure people who are homeless have resources. Tulsa Metro Major Mark Harwell said they always have an open-door policy, no matter how crowded they get.

"It is certainly extremely tragic that some individuals, or perhaps even families, would go to such great lengths to find shelter or to stay warm when the community has provided an incredible network of support for those who are in some very difficult situations," said Little.

People at the Center of Hope said 240 people a night stays there. They expect the numbers to rise as the temperatures drop this weekend.