DANVILLE — A propane tank at a homeless encampment resulted in a fire in an unlikely place and an arrest of a man who admitted to living there.
Danville firefighters responded to Memorial Bridge at 1 p.m. Tuesday for a call of heavy smoke coming from below the north end of the bridge.
Approaching from the west side of the roadway, firefighters found brush fully engulfed and a propane tank among the debris.
The fire was out within a half hour, but the department remained on the scene until 2:26 p.m.
A homeless man, 47, was arrested for criminal trespass to state land and reckless conduct. A second man was released, according to Danville Police Chief Christopher Yates at the Public Works Committee Tuesday night.
“He didn’t start the fire,” said Sgt. Eric Olson of the Danville Police Department, “but because he brought propane tanks under there, that’s why we charged him.”
It was believed that at least three men were at the scene at the time of the fire, and had been using the propane tank to cook. A can of beans was found at the site.
Memorial Bridge was closed while firefighters fought the blaze and remained closed until an Illinois Department of Transportation engineer could inspect the damage and make sure the roadway was safe to drive on.
The bridge was reopened at about 3 p.m.
The fire department used three tanks of water putting out the fire and to cool down surface areas.
A rain deflector underneath the bridge melted.
No injuries to civilians or fire personnel were reported.
There is an estimated $5,000 of damages to property.