(The video from John Alle shows the Santa Monica encampment that was near the fire that closed McClure Tunnel this morning.)
Southbound PCH was backed up to Temescal Canyon Road this morning around 8 a.m.
One resident wrote that they were on Broadway and Ocean in Santa Monica, around 7 a.m. when they saw fire engines and smoke. The resident went down the incline, doubled back to the pier and then parked in the lot north of the pier and watched the action, capturing shots of firefighters above McClure Tunnel.
Several residents, who drove through the tunnel before it was closed, wrote that there was a fire raging above McClure and that with the hanging overgrowth burning embers were falling.
Circling the News contacted Santa Monica Fire Captain Patrick Nulty to ask about the cause and the length of time the roadway was closed.
In an email, Nulty said, “Santa Monica Firefighters responded to an area of the SM Bluffs adjacent to Moomat Ahiko,and extinguished a vegetation fire. The area was approximately 25’ x 25’, no extension to surrounding property. A specific cause was not determined.”
He was unsure how long the roadway was closed, but said “Our Fire Department resources were on scene for about 30 minutes cleaning up.”
Another resident went to the site after the fire was put out and said, a group of people were doing meth steps away from the McClure Tunnel, at Ocean Avenue and Ahiko Moomat Way.
The tent encampment had nine people inside, seven men and two women, and were fully protected from the rain. It appeared that there was also bicycle chop shop, the resident said.
Residents have reported incidents before at the McClure Tunnel. In December, one Palisadian wrote on social media, “Man throwing bricks at cars as they are entering the McClure tunnel as cars are going West bound on 10. My car just got hit with one!! Called 911 and they put me on hold for 15 min. Drove home and waiting to file police report. Thankfully it didn’t hit my wind shield!! He was throwing it into oncoming traffic.”
According to other residents whose cars had been hit, accident reports were filed with the California Highway Patrol.
Another person wrote, “Happened to a friend of mine as well. Same place same time. Also called 911 and couldn’t get through. Brick landed on the windshield. Very scary.”
Another person wrote that since the crime was committed in Santa Monica, the City was responsible.