Sunday, April 21, 2024

Saanich Regina Park fire extinguished by residents of tent city


A tent in Regina Park was completely destroyed due to a fire on Sunday at around noon.

Saanich Fire department confirmed that crews responded to a structure fire and possible explosion at Camp Namegans (the name of the tent city in Regina Park), but found a “smouldering tent” upon arrival.

Reports also state that the fire may have been caused by a lit cigarette left in the tent by its occupant. No one was injured, and the fire was contained by residents themselves.

Tent city speaks out

Spokespeople for Camp Namegans are using this incident to demonstrate tent city residents’ capabilities of suppressing fires without any assistance from the fire department and/or municipality.

According to Twitter posts by Ashley Mollison, an organizer with the Alliance Against Displacement, camp residents used donated fire extinguishers and water to put out the flames and prevent it from spreading.

Marilou Gagnon, activist and Associate Professor, stated that the Saanich Fire Department “has refused and is still refusing to refill fire extinguishers.”

Earlier this summer, the district of Saanich filed a lawsuit to seek an injunction against the Regina Park tent city, citing fire hazards as the main reason for requiring residents to vacate the premises.

While the trial for the injunction is ongoing, tent city residents have been served a fire order by the District of Saanich (which was in turn issued by Emergency Management BC).

Here’s what the fire order requires of Camp Namegans residents:

  • Separate all temporary shelters by 1 metre so as to prevent the rapid spread of fire,
  • Remove flammable tarpaulins,
  • Position all entrances of temporary shelters to face an exit route, and place them at least 3 metres away from combustible brush,
  • Get rid of tents that are positioned within 3 metres of a combustible fence or structure,
  • Store all propane cylinders in a secure place, away from exit routes,
  • Get rid of all open flame lighting and heating sources from personal temporary shelters,
  • Get rid of combustible household furniture from the site,
  • Remove flammable construction materials, wood pallets, lumber, flooring, carpet, and other combustible storage from the site,
  • Separate open-flame cooking equipment by at least 3 metres and restrain from using under combustible overhangs,
  • Prohibit smoking on site.
Brishti Basu
Former Senior Staff Writer and Content Manager at Victoria Buzz.

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