Police / Fire

Early morning fire damages homeless camps, communication lines

Cause is under investigation; damage assessment needed for San Juan Road bridge.

An early morning fire on April 2 under the San Juan Road bridge near Brigantino Park in Hollister engulfed two homeless encampments and caused damage to communications lines. Hollister Fire Department Battalion Chief Charlie Bedolla said the city Public Works Department and Caltrans will determine whether the bridge sustained structural damage. 

The fire department responded at 3:35 a.m. Bedolla said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

“Our No. 1 priority, because we did know that it was a homeless encampment, was to make sure that we took care of life safety first, which was possibly any rescue,” Bedolla said. “As soon as we confirmed nobody was in there we continued with fire suppression.”

The fire burned two homeless encampments. Bedolla said a woman from one camp evacuated when the fire began, and a man in the other camp was not in his tent at the time of the fire. There are about 10 encampments in the vicinity of the bridge.

AT&T, Hollister city staff and Mayor Ignacio Velazquez assessed the damage later in the day. Damage to communication lines running alongside the bridge is visible, along with smoke marks.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.