Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Sept. 21, 2021

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Homeless camp in east Vancouver catches fire

No injuries were reported; a propane tank apparently exploded setting off the fire

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:
3 Photos
A fire destroyed a tent and other possessions at a homeless camp in east Vancouver early Monday morning.
A fire destroyed a tent and other possessions at a homeless camp in east Vancouver early Monday morning. (Vancouver Fire Department) Photo Gallery

Firefighters and the Vancouver Police Department responded to a large fire at a homeless encampment early Monday morning.

Fire crews from the Vancouver Fire Department received a call about 12:15 a.m. for a fire at the end of Northeast 51st Circle, near the intersection with Northeast 112th Avenue.

Roughly 100 people were present when the fire broke out, according to Raymond Egan, a captain in the Vancouver Police Department.

The encampment is near the Clark County Family YMCA. 

There were no reported injuries.

Petra Pandora, who lives nearby, told The Columbian in an email that she received a phone call from a camp resident asking her to call 911 “because there was a massive fire that started from a propane tank exploding in their community,” she said.

Pandora called 911 and walked out her front door to see tall flames coming from  the direction of the camp. She said some people “lost everything they own because of the fire.”

Egan said that crews had the fire under control in about 15 minutes. Vancouver fire deployed one brush rig, one truck and four engines.

Firefighters had to stretch hoses several hundred yards past a barricade in the road leading up to the camp.

One battalion chief and one fire marshal also responded. A total of 18 Vancouver fire personnel were on scene, along with two Vancouver police officers.

Another passerby, Payden Miller, wrote an email to The Columbian saying there were multiple explosions coming from the direction of the fire.

In April, workers from the Vancouver Public Works and Rapid Response Bio Clean program helped clean up the encampment. About 25 people were reported to be living in the camp last month.

The Vancouver Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire, Egan said.

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