VIDEO: Firefighters battle blaze at homeless encampment in Northeast Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - An uncontrolled campfire at a homeless encampment by The Quarry shopping center in Northeast Minneapolis on Monday night triggered a brush fire and a minor explosion, according to a press release from the Minneapolis Fire Department.
Firefighters were dispatched to the shopping center, which includes Target, Cub Foods and Home Depot, at 8:52 p.m. Monday after a 911 caller reported hearing an explosion, according to the release.
Crews encountered a brush fire at the encampment, which is located in a wooded area behind the shopping center parking lot by Highway 35 North, according to the release.
Firefighters determined the fire had been started by a campfire with large wooden pallets that had burned out of control, setting grass and trees on fire before the flames then spread to nearby tents and tarps, according to the release.
Fire crews had to "climb over a fence and stretch the fire hose a long distance" to reach the flames, but they put the fire out before there was any damage to a nearby building. No injuries were reported.
City officials have long cited fire hazards as being one of the main challenges posed by homeless encampments.
In July, when a fire that started in a vacant building destroyed three homes in the Phillips neighborhood, neighbors blamed a nearby homeless encampment. Within 12 hours of the fire, the encampment at 29th Street and 14th Avenue South was closed by Minneapolis city workers and police, citing significant public safety and health concerns.
Officials were not able to identify what started that fire.
In 2018, an encampment on Franklin and Hiawatha avenues dubbed "Tent City" that had been home to hundreds of people was destroyed when a fire, which MFD determined had been started by an unattended gas propane heater, ripped through 10 tents.