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Moncton firefighters called to 30 homeless encampment fires in 2 days

As temperatures start to drop heading into the winter months, new numbers from the Moncton Fire Department speak for themselves on Tuesday

Deputy Fire Chief Charles LeBlanc says over the last 48 hours the department has responded to roughly 30 calls for fires that were directly related to homelessness in the Moncton area.

“Every winter for the past few years as our population kind of grows slowly, our homeless population, we’re seeing a little bit higher trend of fires, bonfires, encampment fires, that sort of stuff. So we’re seeing that those calls may go up a little bit,” he said.

LeBlanc says these calls account for just a portion of what the fire department is responding to on a daily basis, adding that around 60 per cent of their calls are typically medical related, which these are not.

“The number of 30 within the last 48 hours is a little bit high, but I think a lot of that is just due to the colder weather that we’ve had over the past week. As I said, unfortunately we still have a lot of less than fortunate persons on the street and they’re just looking for a way to warm up,” he said.

The Deputy Chief says that there are no concerns about arson in relation to the recent fires; however, over the last couple of days he says there has been a few fires that did include structures such as residential properties.

He adds that the calls are being seen both during the day and a night.

“There’s always a safety concern because the people who are just trying to stay warm, but they have these small propane heaters around them and there’s always a danger,” he said.

“We’ve had several fires over the past decade where unfortunately people have lost their lives.”

The Moncton Fire Department says despite seeing an increase in call volume, this is actually something they’re prepared for every year when the weather starts to turn.

LeBlanc says the department is equipped and ready to deal with it, but he also encourages people to keep an eye on their own property and report any sort of fire safety concerns immediately.

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