Huts for homeless: Help or harm - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Huts for homeless: Help or harm

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The city of Des Moines has ordered homeless residents to leave wooden huts built along the Des Moines River after one of the huts burst into flames, injuring a man sleeping inside.

City officials say once the shacks are abandoned, they will be torn down.

Monday's fire started when a man sleeping inside accidentally kicked over a propane heater and set the shack on fire. A 20-pound propane tank exploded.

The man was taken to a hospital with burns on his legs.

Just last week, the city council told David Costello, an activist who helped build the huts out of scrap wood and pallets, to stop buildling them because they are a safety risk and in violation of the city's building codes.

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