Fires at homeless encampments on the rise

Set Text Size SmallSet Text Size MediumSet Text Size LargeSet Text Size X-Large
Updated: 5/20/2013 11:34 am
(Justin Wills Reporting)

Fresno firefighters are concerned about a growing number of fires at homeless encampments. 

The latest was at H and Santa Clara Streets near downtown Fresno.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined but firefighters say many of the fires at the encampments are started as a result of copper wire theft. 

Koby Johns with the Fresno Fire Department said, "Copper is the premium thing and that's why we're seeing an increase amount of these fires starting because people are using the fire to melt the insulation off of the wire." 

Copper wire is worth nearly $2 a pound when it's stripped of it's insulation.

Other metals are burned at the encampments as well but they are only worth about .06 cents a pound.

The metals are a source of income for many of the homeless people in the encampments and firefighters say it can be costly. "When a fire starts, it spreads incredibly rapid and people are sleeping in these places and there's an increased risk to their safety," said Johns.

The City of Fresno has taken notice and authorities are hoping to address the problem by cleaning out more encampments by the end of summer. 

The city's homeless prevention and policy manager says that will happen in conjunction with a new housing and services plan that is currently in the works. 

Firefighters say we can actually curb the problem by not dumping things like old mattresses and recycling our own metal.

Featured Partners
Experience Baylor summer camp - a 70 year tradition of summer fun and adventure. What are you waiting for? Make the most of summer by signing up today!
Get started at $79.99 a month for 12 months. Plus, get a $75 VISA® Prepaid card.
Register now for St. Nicholas summer camp whose mission & purpose is to provide a fun learning experience for children, developing physical, cultural, social and intellectual abilities.
Supermarket Guru
From The Archives
Scenic City Roots
Through Irish Eyes
Brand News
Prime Mashup
What's Trending
Stay Connected with WDEF News 12
Inergize Digital This site is hosted and managed by Inergize Digital.