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Firefighters confiscate 88 propane tanks at Vanier Park encampment

A team of 16 firefighters and park rangers conducted what is being called a "tactical inspection" at the homeless camp in a wooded area of Vancouver's Vanier Park Tuesday.

"Basically looking at access points. If there was a fire or a concern in there or a medical call, how would the crews basically get there? Where's the closest water supply?" said Capt. Matthew Trudeau of the Vancouver Fire Rescue Service.

It's unclear how many people live in the secluded camp, but there are two large tent structures.

Under tarps, crews found a large stash of mostly empty propane tanks and began hauling them from the woods.

By the time they were finished, a total of 88 propane tanks sat in the parking lot, along with a generator and two cans of gas.

"Propane tanks of any size and any level are concerning," Trudeau said. "It's about how much energy they have when they're heated and the potential for an explosion."

With dense dry underbrush all around the camp -- and large dead branches piled right up against the tents -- there is plenty of fuel should a fire start in the area.

Tuesday's trip to the park was not a decampment and there were no police present.

Trudeau said it was an opportunity for firefighters to assess the risk in the area and develop an access plan should they ever be dispatched for a working fire or a medical call.

The Vancouver Park Board declined an interview request but did provide a statement.

"Park rangers are continuing to have the city's homelessness outreach attend during our visits to connect those sheltering on-site with long-term solutions and housing options," the statement said.

The park board previously attempted to convince the people living in Vanier Park to move on back in March, but those efforts appear to have been unsuccessful. Top Stories

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