(Le Mars) — A popular entrance to Le Mars is now closed following a fire that was reported beneath the bridge that crosses the Floyd River on the southern edge of town. Fire officials were notified of the fire under the bridge at the Exit 116 and 24th Street S.W. from Highway 75 at about 10:11 p.m. Saturday evening. The exit is near the Wells Enterprises corporate offices. City street officials closed the highway at the bridge following the fire. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper called the incident, “a mess.” Schipper says the fire was an accidental fire that was started when a homeless individual, living under the bridge, began a fire to cook and to stay warm. The fire had quickly spread and engulfed the individual’s belongings, and then to the rubber expansion joint between the bridge and the pavement.
Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte issued the following news release relating to the incident.
On February 12, 2022 at approximately 10:20 PM a Le Mars Police Officer noticed smoke and fire coming from underneath the Business 75 bridge between 24th St and exit 116 of US Highway #75. Le Mars Fire and Rescue extinguished the fire which was started underneath the bridge trusses. The fire remains under investigation. Due to safety precautions the bridge will remain closed until such time it is inspected and cleared for safe travel. Detour routes have been established and the public is encouraged to use exit 118 as their primary access to Le Mars.
Image provided by the Le Mars Street Department.