Road reopens after brush fire closes I-275, Gandy Blvd.

- Saturday UPDATE:

The St. Petersburg Police announced both I-275 and Gandy Boulevard are open for traffic Saturday morning.

St. Pete Fire Rescue has engines on Gandy with crews monitoring the hot spots to prevent any rekindle of the fire today.

Motorists will see fire trucks parked along the outside lanes of Gandy Blvd. during the morning hours.

The Division of Forestry is also monitoring the area to prevent any further fire issues. 

PREVIOUS STORY:

Crews in St. Petersburg reopened I-275 late Friday night after a section of the interstate and Gandy Boulevard had been closed down as firefighters battled a large brush fire.

Investigators determined the fire started when a lawn crew was doing work and a lawnmower got too hot.

"The lawnmower itself was heating up the grass clippings and the grass clippings got hot enough that they started the fire," said Deputy Fire Marshal Steve Lawrence, with St. Pete Fire & Rescue. "They tried to extinguish it, but with the wind and the conditions, it quickly got out of control."

The flames spread across more than 40 acres around the major roads. Both I-275 and Gandy were shut down for several hours and authorities evacuated the Village Green mobile home park, which is next to the interstate.

The road closures caused a traffic nightmare during rush hour.

"What it takes me regularly 10, 12 minutes, took me an hour," one driver said.

"Hard to see," said Cody Montgomery, who snapped a few photographs of the driving conditions that he shared with FOX 13. "You could really only see the vehicle next to you or in front of you."

It took until after 7 p.m. for firefighters to have the fire mostly under control.

"We got ahead of the fire a little bit, did some controlled burns, basically eliminated the fuel for the fire," Lawrence said.

By 10 p.m., I-275 had reopened. Firefighters expected Gandy to remain closed for at least another couple of hours.

Firefighters planned to keep an eye on the brush fire throughout the night just in case there are any flare-ups.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Road reopens after brush fire closes I-275, Gandy Blvd.
  • Withlacoochee expected to crest Wednesday
  • Neo-Nazi takes plea deal on explosives charges
  • Polk to use early release days as hurricane make-up days
  • Puerto Ricans on the mainland watch, wait after Maria devastates U.S. territory
  • Polk rejects plan to light road where teen was killed
  • After Dunedin school serves as shelter, 80 books missing from classroom
  • Time drags for those waiting for news from Puerto Rico
  • AMBER ALERT: 4 children missing from Manatee Co.
  • Wisconsin logger helps clear debris after Irma