Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has asked businesses in downtown to have their employees work remotely, if practical, while crews continue assessing a repair to the 10 Freeway after it was significantly damaged by fire over the weekend.
Speaking with Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM’s “On Air with Ryan” morning show at 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, Bass said the time it takes to make repairs to the freeway would have “severe economic consequences,” but she suggested telecommuting like businesses did during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 10 Freeway remained closed from Alameda Street to Santa Fe Avenue after a pallet fire broke out early Saturday morning underneath the freeway and encompassed nearly eight acres before it was put out by firefighters, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristen Crowley has said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an emergency order to allow crews to get to work and they spent most of the weekend assessing the damage and sending samples of potential hazardous materials to labs for testing, said Toks Omishakin, California’s secretary of transportation.
If deemed safe, crews would then assess the structural integrity of the freeway’s damaged columns.
A probe into the fire’s cause and origin were to be completed by 6 a.m. Monday, Nov., 13, Newsom said on. Sunday. Bass did not provide any updates on the radio show.
But she warned listeners the repairs could take an extensive amount of time.
“I do have to say to Angelenos, because safety is number one, it might be awhile,” the mayor said. “There’s also no evidence now that this fire was started because of encampments nearby. A lot jumped to that conclusion but we do not have evidence to substantiate that.”
For those traveling into downtown Los Angeles, Bass suggested taking public transportation, such as by using the Metro’s railway system. Those who need to drive were asked to stay on the 5, 101 or 110 freeways to circumvent the closure.
Metrolink on Sunday said it was increasing its frequency of service between San Bernardino into Los Angeles.
The area where the fire started was leased out by the state, but Newsom in a Sunday press conference said the company renting the space was in violation of the terms of their lease without providing further details because of ongoing litigation.
Newsom did not say the company was believed to be responsible for the fire.
The bulk of the fire was extinguished in three hours, Crowley said, and the L.A. Department of Water and Power boosted water pressure in the area for the higher volume needed to put out the blaze.