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UPDATED: I-29 bridge fire started in 'transient campground area' under bridge
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UPDATED: I-29 bridge fire started in 'transient campground area' under bridge

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SIOUX CITY -- A fire in a homeless campground under an Interstate 29 bridge in downtown Sioux City Wednesday afternoon caused traffic diversions and left the bridge darkened with smoke and soot. 

Sioux City Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the 100 block of Pearl Street for a reported gas leak shortly before 2 p.m. While en route, crews noticed smoke coming from underneath an I-29 culvert bridge just south of the overpass at Wesley Parkway. 

"The fire was started in some transient campground area, underneath the bridge, but we don't exactly know at this time what started the fire," said Sioux City Fire Rescue Capt. Ryan Collins. There was no one under the bridge at the time and none of the emergency responders were injured. 

Collins said the fire consumed "various tents" and debris under the bridge, while propane tanks under the bridge made the fire much worse. 

"That quickly increased the size of the fire," Collins said. 

Northbound and southbound lanes of I-29 were closed and traffic detoured off of the interstate while the Iowa Department of Transportation inspected the bridge. The southbound lane reopened in the afternoon, and northbound traffic was routed onto southbound lanes around the affected bridge at 8 p.m. Police said Wednesday night that the traffic shift may cause some delays during the morning and evening commutes.

It was not immediately clear whether, or to what extent, the bridge was damaged.

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