Homeless camps burn in wooded area of Kent

KENT, Wash. — Firefighters are at the scene of a fire that broke out in a wooded area in Kent and burned homeless camps Wednesday morning.

The fire burned in an area along 1001 1st Ave North, on the east side of SR 167 just south of Central Avenue, around 5 a.m.

A Washington State Department camera on SR 167 showed smoke billowing into the air. The smoke was apparently a distraction to drivers, as a long backup formed.

The fire was about 50 feet by 100 feet in size. Firefighters had to stage their equipment at the Alderbrook apartments because the fire is on the other side of railroad tracks. Crews had to place the hose over a fence separating the apartments from the tracks.

Officials say homeless camps in the area burned, but no injuries were reported.

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"This is an area where we do have homeless encampments. The (fire) captain has told me he believes there were three here at the time. Two of the camps were on fire and burning quite well," said fire inspector Keith Kepler.

The fire was under control but was still being worked on by fire crews as of 6:43 a.m.

At about 6:40 a.m., Sound Transit said multiple Sounder south line train trains may be delayed in both directions because the fire is near the train tracks.  Delays were expected to range between five and 10 minutes.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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