PUEBLO – A homeless encampment located beneath the deck of the 4th Street Bridge over Fountain Creek caught fire Sunday morning. The camp was abandoned when firefighters arrived at around 7:00 a.m. and no injuries were reported.
The fire department said engineers with the Colorado Department of Transportation inspected the bridge to make sure it was still safe. Heat from the fire melted fiberoptic communication lines hung immediately below the bridge deck.
There is no winter warming shelter for the homeless in Pueblo. On Wednesday, at-Large City Councilman Mark Aliff told News 5 the owner of a vacant warehouse on West 9th Street offered to temporarily lease his building as an emergency shelter.
“He said he was willing to offer up his warehouse for the four to five months it would take to get through the winter, and we’ve looked at it, and it seems like it’ll work,” Ailff said.
Earlier this month, City Council made $250,000 of emergency funds available for the lease and operation of a temporary warming shelter.
A last-minute plan to house the homeless 40-foot by 40-foot military tents in the parking lot of the old Wayside Cross building was stopped due to difficulties in obtaining insurance. A proposal last month to purchase a vacant building on Chester Street was scrapped when it was discovered the property was located in a floodplain
preventing the City from receiving federal assistance.
Aliff said City Council will consider an emergency ordinance about the 9th Street location at their meeting on Monday night.