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Encampment dismantled in Vanier Park after fire destroys structure

Fire has destroyed a large structure inside a homeless encampment in Vancouver’s Vanier Park.

Const. Tania Visintin with the Vancouver Police Department said both firefighters and officers were called to the park around 1 a.m. and found one structure completely engulfed in flames.

“The cause of the fire may be suspicious, but because of the cooking materials, drug paraphernalia and the heating equipment on site, the exact cause is still unknown,” Visintin wrote in an email to CTV News.

No one was inside the structure at the time and no injuries have been reported.

Among the charred debris inside the park Wednesday morning were small propane tanks, spray paint cans and an electric scooter with a melted wheel.

Lindsay MacKinnis lives near the encampment and said people were watching the flames from her building.

“They had a perfect view, they heard explosions and all sorts of chaos,” MacKinnis said. “The sirens were so loud and close I thought I had my windows open.”

MacKinnis came to the park Wednesday morning to check on the people who had been living there.

“I know a couple of the people that are in here. They have their issues, but who doesn't?” she said. “They’ve always been really nice, keeping our property from having any criminal activity.”


Just before noon, CTV News crews witnessed one man in handcuffs in the back of a police wagon. He was identified by rangers on site a smeone who had been living in the park for about a week.  

VPD said the man was arrested on a B.C.-wide warrant for obstruction.

Police on scene also recovered what appeared to be firearms, which a spokesperson later told CTV News were a BB gun and an airsoft rifle that were seized in order to be destroyed.


Wednesday morning’s fire appeared to fast-track the city’s plan to completely dismantle the last remaining structure inside the park. Sanitation crews were called in to remove more garbage and items from inside the shelter.

Some of the items recovered include two 200-pound propane tanks, a flat screen TV, a mini fridge, gas containers, and numerous knives.

Heavy machinery then pulled the structure apart and the park was cleared.

It’s not clear whether any efforts are being made to prevent another encampment from starting again. CTV News reached out to the Vancouver Park Board for comment on Wednesday’s operation but no one was available for an interview. Top Stories

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