A thick black plume of smoke near State Route 4 and Sand Creek Road caught the attention of commuters as the rush hour began to build Friday, June 14.
The source of the smoke was a fire in a homeless camp nestled along the banks of Sand Creek on the east side of State Route 4. Fire marshal Steve Aubert from the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District called the fire’s origin accidental and noted the camp was equipped with solar power and a propane-powered generator.
Police officers who first arrived on the incident scene reported that several propane tanks exploded before firefighters arrived, and tanks were still burning and exploding as firefighters approached the blaze from the highway.
Units from both ECCFPD and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded to the incident. ECCFPD battalion chief Jake Gonzalez said the fire remained mostly in the creek bed, and with a plowed field on the north side of the creek. No injuries were reported.