Site of storage fire under 10 Freeway in Downtown LA. Photo from CalTrans District 7 Twitter.

Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the damaged section of the 10 Freeway was “in better shape than anticipated” and will open no later than Nov. 21.

The new target date is far sooner than what authorities had announced on Tuesday, when they anticipated it would take three to five weeks to repair the portion of the freeway that was damaged in a massive fire over the weekend.

The damaged portion of the freeway has remained closed to traffic in both directions since Saturday, but is now expected to open before the anticipated high traffic of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Mayor Karen Bass took to her social media to share the news.

On Monday authorities said that a preliminary investigation by CalFire determined that the fire was started with malice intent and that investigators were working to determine if more than one person was involved in the arson. 

As of Thursday, no suspects had been identified and no arrests had been made.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said there was no reason to suspect unhoused individuals in the area were to blame.

“There’s a lot of accusations against the homeless people that were in the area,” she said on LAist 89.3’s Air Talk Tuesday morning. “There is no reason, at this point in time, to associate the encampment with the fire that took place there.”

Newson said that the company leasing the space under the freeway that caught fire, Apex Development Inc., was facing an eviction lawsuit from the State of California prior to Saturday’s fire. The governor added that not only had Apex’s lease expired, but that the space was being subleased without authorization from Caltrans.

YouTube video

Firefighters responded to the area under the freeway near the intersection of East 14th Street and South Alameda Street at around 12:22 am Saturday after a storage yard there caught fire, quickly spreading to a second yard nearby. 

About 100 columns under the I-10 were damaged in the blaze, with about nine to ten severely damaged. At least 16 homeless people living under the freeway at the time were evacuated from the area and housed.

Due to the freeway closure, the Mayor and other elected officials are asking the public to avoid the burn area and suggesting that commuters take alternate routes, work from home or use public transportation.

This story was updated and reposted on Nov. 14

Alex Medina is a graduate of Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School and 2018 alumnus of the Boyle Heights Beat. He is a recent graduate of Hamilton College in Central New York where he majored in Hispanic...

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