Portland Firefighters Responded To More Than 1,000 Homeless Camp Fires In Two Years
[Hot Air] PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Portland Fire & Rescue responds to fires that start in homeless encampments often several times a day, according to data.

Some have been as small as a garbage fire, while others have been known to spread to homes.

"Our call volume does have an increased amount that is a result of some kind of emergency or crisis that is happening with our homeless population," said Lt. Rich Chatman with Portland Fire & Rescue. "That’s a fact of life and we’ve just really come to understand that this is part of our job now."

The FOX 12 Investigators requested data for fires started in homeless encampments from July 2017 to July 2019.

It showed Portland Fire & Rescue responded to more than 1,000 fires in those two years. It also showed they’re usually responding to these fires several times a day.

Take May 29 of this year: Data shows Portland crews responded to 10 fire calls at homeless camps.

"During our summer months, we know that fires we’re going to deal with often have to do with how dry the brush or trees are and that’s especially concerning to us because those fires that start maybe from a cooking fire or some sorts outdoors that can cause a much larger fire that can affect many more homes," said Chatman. "During the winter months, often times, the fires are people just trying to keep warm and that’s something we obviously have compassion to."

Back in July, a homeless camp caught fire near Southeast 96th Avenue and Steele Street. It spread across the street to a home, burning part of the roof.

"Something in the camp exploded," said Joanna Hartvickson.

Hartvickson lives next door to the home that caught fire.

Posted by: Besoeker 2019-10-12