(KCTV) -- A homeless man said he was hosed down by Kansas City firefighters during frigid New Year’s temperatures and left to freeze.
The incident happened under a bridge near 20th and Oak on New Year’s Day around 2 a.m., when the temperature was around 21 degrees with a wind chill of 10.
The homeless man, whose name is PJ, told KCTV5 he had a campfire under the bridge. He said firefighters came up with a hose to put it out.
Despite offering to extinguish the campfire himself, PJ said the firefighters sprayed the fire, soaking him as well.
“All of the sudden the hose opened up,” he recalled. “The fire was doused, I was doused, clothes back there were doused."
Homeless advocate Lacey Langford started the public outcry over the incident after finding PJ later on New Year’s Day “still frozen in his clothes.”
She filed a formal complaint with the Kansas City Fire Department and posted about it on social media.
“They left him, in my opinion, for dead in 19-degree weather soaking wet,” Langford said.
KCFD officials admit the incident happened, explaining that they were just trying to put out an illegal burn fire and would never intentionally douse a homeless person.
“We would never do anything to make their lives harder than they already are,” Deputy Fire Chief Jimmy Walker explained.
Walked noted the incident is under investigation and the crews involved are being questioned. He also added a fire at a homeless camp last February caused $2 million in damages to a bridge.