Deadly homeless camp fire halts all I-70 traffic in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – A fire broke out at a homeless camp under the Interstate on Thursday morning, killing one person and blocking all westbound I-70 traffic into Kansas City.

Police and firefighters were called to the fire at Interstate 70 and Benton Boulevard around 6 a.m. A fire broke out in a homeless cantonment under the interstate and one person died. No other injuries have been reported.

The fire was so strong that the Missouri Department of Transportation had to be called in to investigate the structural integrity of the bridge. Until MoDOT gives its approval, all westbound I-70 traffic in the city is being diverted at the 18th Street exit to the south of the scene.

Meanwhile, traffic is backed up for miles, and officials are urging anyone who normally uses I-70 to come into Kansas City to find an alternative route.

No cause of fire has been given so far. Police said the homeless man who died is believed to be an adult, and no foul play is immediately suspected.

An updated and recommended detour from MoDOT:

“Motorists are advised that the westbound Interstate 70 bridge near 18th St. will remain closed until further notice due to early morning fires. Missouri Department of Transportation personnel will inspect the bridge to determine damage and potentially necessary repairs.” are inspecting.

Westbound I-70 motorists heading out of Missouri must exit I-70 at the Interstate 435 interchange at Mile Marker 8 to get around the closure. All lanes on eastbound I-70 remain open. For local traffic only, westbound I-70 travelers may continue until exit 18th Street to go into the area’s neighborhood.”