Fire, explosions at Kalamazoo homeless camp; 1 person hurt

Associated Press
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Kalamazoo – More than a dozen small propane tanks exploded at a homeless camp on Mills Street in Kalamazoo when they were near an open fire, authorities said.

The fire was brought under control in 10 minutes Sunday by Kalamazoo firefighters. One person had minor injuries. The camp has many tents.

The aftermath of a fire at a homeless encampment on Mills Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

“The fire was caused because occupants of the homeless encampment were actively filling 1-pound propane tanks from a larger 20-pound tank near an open flame,” said Scott Brooks, Kalamazoo fire marshal.

“There was a failure with the improvised adaptor on one of the propane tanks causing an explosion. Due to the intense heat from the fire, 15 other 1-pound propane tanks exploded,” Brooks said.

The aftermath of a fire at a homeless encampment on Mills Street in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. During the fire, several propane tanks exploded around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Coincidentally a news crew from WWMT-TV was at the camp when the explosions occurred.

“Before we hear the boom we hear someone say, ‘fire, run,’ then we look back as we could see a guy dancing around in the flames coming up and it was unbelievable,” said Katrina Davis, who was delivering soup and witnessed the fire.

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