Salmon Arm RCMP, BC Coroners Service investigating fatal makeshift structure fire

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An early morning fire involving a deceased man is being investigated, say Salmon Arm RCMP.

According to police, emergency crews were called to the 1700 block of 10th Avenue Southwest just after 5:15 a.m., on Thursday.

Police say first responders arrived on scene and found a makeshift structure fully engulfed in flames.

Andrew Geall said he was a friend of the man and spoke with Global News on Friday.

“He was a good man, he was discriminated against because of the way he lived and the way he looked,” said Geall.

A photo of the early morning structure fire in Salmon Arm. Submitted

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“He was the type of guy that would give the shirt off his back in a winter storm,” said Geall.

RCMP added that witnesses reported explosions during the blaze, likely due to propane tanks and fuel containers being on scene.

“The body of a deceased male was discovered by fire crews inside the structure,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West.

“At this time, criminality is not suspected in the man’s sudden death. Our next steps will be to obtain a positive identification and notify his next of kin.”

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Police say the BC Coroners Service has been notified and are now investigating. They added that the Coroners Service’s investigation will look to determine who the man is, how and when he died and by what means.

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The man’s name was not released, with police citing privacy reasons.

Global News talked to a front-line worker about the current state of homelessness in Salmon Arm.

He said the current state of homelessness is hard to gauge.

“We have a 18-bed shelter and we’re not full,” said David Byers, Salmon Arm Salvation Army’s community services coordinator.

“However, when I was at the hospital, the nurse said they have around 180 people at the hospital who they call homeless.”

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Byers said he would like to see more government support to help those living in marginal situations, like the man who died.

“We certainly need to spent more money on housing people.”

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Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Salmon Arm RCMP at 250-832-6044.