Campbell River RCMP investigating fire in homeless camp

Campbell River RCMP are investigating a suspicious fire in a travel trailer at a homeless camp.

Mounties and firefighters with the Campbell River Fire Department were called to a homeless camp at 2600 Quinsam Rd. about 7:30 p.m. No one was injured in the blaze, which destroyed the trailer.

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“At this point in time, the fire is considered suspicious, however, it’s not clear if any criminality led to the fire or a simple lack of care,” said Campbell River RCMP Const. Maury Tyre.

Firefighters have responded to about four other fires in the homeless camp since it was set up this summer, said Tyre. About 20 people without homes are living in dilapidated trailers, old cars and tents and they were issued an order to vacate by B.C.’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

Campbell River firefighters have been dealing with a series of fires in homeless camps in recent weeks.

On Oct. 8, Campbell River RCMP and firefighters extinguished a large blaze at a homeless camp in a wooded area near Highway 28 and Highway 19. The fire was caused by a homemade fireplace in a makeshift two-storey structure, Tyre said. The man later told police he left the door open and walked away from the fire, which spread to the forest.

On Sept. 22, a 20-year-old homeless man was deliberately set on fire as he slept on an island under the Island Highway bridge crossing Campbell River. Police are still investigating.

The detachment’s major crime unit is also looking for witnesses in the fatal assault of a 60-year-old homeless man outside the Royal Bank on Shoppers Row on Oct. 15. The man died two days later of his injuries. No arrests have been made.

Tyre said there is no link between Saturday’s fire, the Sept. 22 incident or the attack outside the bank. He said while rumours and speculation are rampant on social media, there’s no indication that someone is going around and randomly attacking homeless people in Campbell River.

Anyone with information about the fire or any other criminal incident is asked to call Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221.

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