I-275 at Gandy Boulevard re-opens following brush fire

Last Updated: Saturday, April 08, 2017, 6:16 AM EDT

UPDATE: 6:15 a.m. I-275 and Gandy Boulevard are back open to traffic following a brush fire Friday night. 

10:04 p.m. St. Petersburg Police now reports that I-275 has re-opened to traffic at Gandy Boulevard. Gandy Boulevard itself, however, will remain closed for several hours.

8:11 p.m. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue is reporting that the fire is now mainly under control. Crews are dealing with hotspots and will remain on scene through the evening.

Fire investigators say the original fire was caused by a lawn mower that heated up and set dry grass clippings on fire. The wind then caught the burning clippings and spread the flames.

In total, 40-50 acres suffered fire damage. In addition to the one fire fighter who was hospitalized for heat exhaustion, three people from the Village Green Mobile Home Park were treated for smoke inhalation.

I-275 remains closed in both directions.

6:48 p.m. Duke Energy is now reporting the number of people without power due to the fire is down to 435. The maximum number of customers affected reached 2,876 earlier Friday.

6:28 p.m. Lt. Steve Lawrence of the St. Petersburg Fire Department is reporting that fire fighters are dealing with a water supply issue as they fight the brush fire. There are no fire hydrants on the interstate, so crews are having to use water supplies in their trucks.

Fire trucks can hold up to 500 gallons of water. The result is that crews have had the fire knocked down, but have had to leave the area to resupply. While they're away from the scene, the fire flares up again.

6:18 p.m. - Florida Highway Patrol is reporting traffic is still being diverted off I-275 northbound at 54th Avenue and southbound at Roosevelt Boulevard.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue is reporting one firefighter has been hospitalized for heat exhaustion.

 

 

A small brush fire that has quickly expanded has forced the Florida Highway Patrol to close both directions of Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg.

  • Brush fire burning near I-275 and Gandy Boulevard
  • FHP has closed Gandy Boulevard and I-275 in the area
  • About 2,500 Duke Energy customers are without power
  • Mandatory evacuation issued for Village Green mobile home park
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The fire initially forced authorities to close the southbound exit ramp from I-275 onto Gandy Boulevard. Both directions of Gandy Boulevard were subsequently closed as the smoke increased in the area.

Sgt. Steve Gaskins, of the Florida Highway Patrol, said both directions of I-275 are now closed because of low visibility caused by smoke from the fire.

About 2,500 Duke Energy customers were without power as of 6 p.m. due to the fire. 

St. Pete Fire Rescue also issued a mandatory evacuation of the Village Green mobile home park due to smoke conditions. 

This is a developing story. Check back and refresh the page for the latest updates.