Mayor Harrell orders Seattle’s I-5 homeless camp cleared after explosion

28 July 2023

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has ordered another homeless camp to be cleared out.

This one is between I-5 and Harborview Medical Center near downtown.

Washington State Patrol and Seattle Police are watching over the encampment while crews clear the encampment of debris.

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Police have still not figured out what led to the explosion.

A propane explosion set ablaze the encampment on Friday morning.

Seattle Fire sent multiple units to the “significant encampment fire” on the west side of Harborview.

A fireball engulfed several trees and tents at the encampment, but no one was reported injured.

Because of the explosion and other reports, both the City of Seattle and WSDOT have begun clearing out the encampment. They sent KIRO 7 a joint statement on the matter:

“WSDOT is working with the City of Seattle, Seattle Police Department (SPD) and other partners to support emergency action at the encampment on Yesler on the NE side of I-5 following an SPD investigation into recent fires and explosions at the site and the confirmation of significant criminal activity occurring there. The recent spate of fires and explosions at this location have created risk for users of the adjacent roadway and also Harborview Medical Center.”

KIRO7 spoke with one person who lived at the encampment for some time and why he believes this isn’t the right move to make.

“They say it’s for public safety and they kick 30 people out of their home? Out of what they consider their homes? It’s unbelievable,” Cameron, who lived at the encampment, said.

He also told KIRO7 he hardly had any notice from crews of the clear-out and had to gather all he could in a short matter of time. He also says that the acts of a few shouldn’t push the rest of them out and look for a new place to go.

“Something like this happens after you have been in a comfortable place for two years and I am at ground….phase one again. Like…great… now where am I going to go? Cameron said.

Seattle Police are still investigating this incident.

KIRO 7 and KIRO Newsradio’s James Lynch contributed to this story.

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