More fires at controversial homeless camp in Maple Ridge
Yet another fire has broken out at the Anita Place homeless camp in Maple Ridge early Friday, the latest in a string of incidents that have residents and local businesses on edge.
Fire crews responded to what witnesses described as a massive blaze on 223 Street in Maple Ridge early Friday morning.
This fire, the ninth to erupt at this camp since its inception two years ago.
This latest incident came on the heels of two other fires and an explosion earlier this week.
“I have been provided with a preliminary briefing on last night’s fire and thankfully none of the camp occupants or first responders sustained any injuries in this fire. The fire department is conducting their investigation on the cause of the fire,” said Mayor Mike Morden in a statement.
“I want to make it very clear that I, and all members of council, share the citizens’ concerns for the safety of the camp occupants, the surrounding neighbourhood and our front line responders.”
All of those incidents occurring despite the city enforcing a court injunction last weekend removing nearly 100 propane tanks and other fire hazards.
Part of the focus of that injunction was seeking out dangerous heat sources and for exactly this reason there have been major concerns over those propane tanks inside tents onsite.
Officers are back on scene Friday morning, monitoring the situation and keeping the peace.
Romana Stimpfl lives nearby and she says folks in the area are worried.
“We have 47 units here. It’s the daycare full of children, the doctors who have patients, the other houses and apartments here. It’s impacting all of us, it’s not just one or two people, it’s an entire block of neighbours that this is impacting,” she said.
“Nobody wants them hurt, nobody wants anything bad done to them. But we have to not look at their safety alone, but our safety too.”
Last weekend, six people were arrested for refusing access, when the RCMP enforced a court injunction allowing for the inspection and removal of any unsafe electrical or gas heaters from the tents and wooden structures.
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