Woman injured from fire at homeless camp in Maple Ridge
A woman managed to escape a burning tent at Anita Place tent city during a time of tension around warming devices between the residents and the City of Maple Ridge.
The tent was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene, according to Fire Chief Howard Exmer.
The woman was hospitalized and treated for minor burns and has since been released.
He said investigators are looking into the cause and don't believe it is suspicious.
"We're following up on all the possible leads at this time. The supposition that somebody started the fire from outside is being investigated by the police," he said.
"Right now we can't find any evidence to support that this was an accelerated fire, or set fire, in a malicious way but we are continuing our investigation."
He said firefighters frequently find people in homeless camps misusing heating devices that could unintentionally start fires or even cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
"We have great concerns over what people are trying to do to keep warm in the tents."
The city recently announced it was applying for a court order to enforce fire safety rules at the camp.
Pivot Legal Society is helping out the residents at Anita Place, crying foul that the city is taking legal action at the start of winter and claiming officials aren't providing meaningful alternatives.
"Instead of working pragmatically with homeless people to give them the options that they need to be warm safely. they just keep saying, 'No.' They say no to every warming device that residents come up with," lawyer Anna Cooper said.
"The reality is that if you are homeless and it is winter, it's three in the morning, you're cold and you are probably still wet from the day before, you're not going to complacently freeze to death."
Officials This weekend's fire was the sixth one at Anita Place in the last 18 months.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Emad Agahi