What started as a possible rescue mission turned into a strange discovery for Everett firefighters and authorities recently.
City firefighters got a report of someone possibly being trapped in a manmade tunnel under the northbound off-ramp to Pacific Avenue, according to KIRO 7. Dispatchers said the tunnel may have collapsed, as well.
Authorities removed the dirt from the tunnel but determined nobody was trapped inside. Officials now believe the tunnel was built and used by a homeless man in the area. Friends of the man told officers he'd been hiding in the tunnel for at least two years.
“He got to where it was far enough and deep enough that he felt safe and he went down in there. Like a mouse,” Eric Day told reporters. They started getting worried when he suddenly disappeared.
Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) crews first discovered the tunnel on Wednesday night (July 14) and even made contact with its occupant. The next day, crews came back and spotted rocks blocking the entrance. Fearing someone was stuck inside, heavy machinery was called out to see if anyone was trapped.
There were also concerns about the tunnel damaging the off-ramp underneath.
“If this tunnel, by any chance, happens to undermine the road, then we have a much bigger situation where we need to address that and ensure the stability of the road,” Jordan Longacre of WSDOT said.
Officials found no damage, and nobody was found inside. No word on where the homeless man is, either.
"As for why the tunnel was built in the first place, friends of the man said he suffers from paranoia and was convinced there would be a terrorist attack on Everett," reporters learned. "So he needed a place to hide."