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WB I-70 at 18th Street in KCMO to remain closed overnight after deadly fire

I70 backup.jpg
Jan 13 2022 I70 Fire.png
Posted at 8:08 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 19:16:07-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, police and fire crews are investigating a large fire off of Interstate 70 near 18th Street.

Around 11:15 a.m., the Missouri Department of Transportation tweeted that westbound I-70 at Interstate 435 would be closed until further notice while crews continue to inspect the scene.

At around 4:15 p.m. MoDOT told KSHB 41 News that I-70 westbound would remain closed overnight and into Friday. The department did not give a time frame for when the road would reopen.

There was a report of a car fire around 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

Crews have since discovered there was a fire in an encampment where people experiencing homelessness were staying under a bridge.

A body was discovered at the scene of the blaze.

The fire burned so hot that crews have to check the structural integrity of I-70 to make sure it's safe to drive on.

"Initially, it was the fire that closed the road. As we got under there, we noticed there was some damage to the bridge so it was prudent to keep it closed until we made a better assessment," Matt Killion, an assistant district engineer for MoDOT, said.

Killion said inspectors will look at three critical components of the bridge, including the girders, connections and some of the steel within the bridge.

How much damage a fire could cause to a bridge depends, according to Killion.

“It really depends how much debris, what kind of flammable materials are under the bridge, that'll determine the extent of the damage," Killion said.

MoDOT has begun a study for the corridor. The agency said the plans included replacing bridges and making safety improvements.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.