Another fire ravages a tent encampment in Toronto
Just one week after a fire broke out at a tent encampment in Toronto's Liberty Village, yet another similar incident took place at a nearby encampment location in the city on Tuesday night.
The blaze took over The Gore park between Fleet St., Lake Shore Blvd. and Fort York just before 10 p.m., with passersby taking to social media to report exploding propane tanks used by unhoused residents to heat their shelters.
Photo and video footage from the scene shows substantial flames and plenty of smoke billowing up from the treed area, which is just a stone's throw away from multiple busy roadways and housing complexes.
A slew of such encampments have cropped up in the city's green spaces over the course of this year as shelter capacities dwindled and the potential for COVID-19 transmission in indoor shelter situations became a very real threat.
Many are left with very few options and have found outdoor encampments to be the most desirable.
@CP24 @CTVNews @JohnTory Fire at the Fort York/Lakeshore encampment this evening. This is after many attempts at calling the city/311 to notify them of our neighbourhoods concerns for safety/sanitation. Hoping no-one is injured. pic.twitter.com/LhHDOBFaBH— Ensophocles (@Ensophocles) December 16, 2020
City officials have expressed their concern about the safety of makeshift structures used by residents experiencing homeless, including the newly-popular "foam domes" or "green pods" constructed of polystyrene insulation.
The material is cheap to manufacture and effective for staying warm in the city's freezing winter temperatures, but is also unfortunately a highly flammable plastic.
According to some reports, the disaster was actually not one inferno, but two separate ones.
Though some local news outlets cited no injuries, Spadina-Fort York MPP Chris Glover tweeted that one citizen was being taken to hospital for burn wounds, and that two first responders were also burned.
Two fires in the Gore encampment tonight. One of the encampment residents was burned and is being taken to the hospital. I was told two officers were also burned. Thank you to the @TorontoPolice, @TPFFA and @TorontoMedics working to keep everyone safe.#onpoli #TOpoli— Chris Glover (@ChrisGloverMPP) December 16, 2020
The cause of the episode is still under investigation, though members of community groups have perhaps unfairly speculated that such accidents could be anything from just that, accidents, to people setting one another's tents ablaze, to even more nefarious types of deliberate arson.
The City has moved to dismantle tent encampments — at which there have been 241 fires to date this year — and safely rehome their tenants in recent weeks, while also vowing to clear away any mini-shelters found on public property.
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