Illegal manmade tunnel discovered under I-5 ramp in Everett, setting off search mission

EVERETT, Wash. — The Everett Fire Department received a report of a person possibly trapped in a human-made tunnel that collapsed under the northbound off-ramp to Pacific Avenue in Everett.

After removing dirt from the tunnel, authorities determined there was nobody trapped inside.

Authorities told KIRO 7 they believe the tunnel had been built and used by a homeless man in the area.

The man’s friends said he had been routinely hiding in the tunnel for at least two years.

“He got to where it was far enough and deep enough that he felt safe and he went down in there. Like a mouse,” said Eric Day.

It’s that “disappearing act” that caused worry.

WSDOT crews said they first discovered the tunnel on Wednesday night when they came into contact with its occupant.

A day later, crews returned and noticed rocks suddenly blocked the tunnel entrance.

They worried it had collapsed and that someone was stuck inside.

“(The tunnel) is all the same diameter all the way through for as far as the eye can see,” Day told KIRO 7.

What followed was an arsenal of heavy machinery that was used to see if anyone was stuck below ground.

Crews also needed to find out if the Pacific Avenue off-ramp was damaged from underneath.

“If this tunnel, by any chance, happens to undermine the road, then we have a much bigger situation where we need to address that and ensure the stability of the road,” said Jordan Longacre of WSDOT.

In the end, there was no damage and nobody was found.

As for why the tunnel was built in the first place, friends of the man said he suffers from paranoia and was convinced there would be a terrorist attack on Everett - so he needed a place to hide.