One person injured in Belle Park encampment fire

The charred remains of a tent at Belle Park following a fire on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Photo via City of Kingston

Kingston Fire & Rescue has confirmed that one person was injured in an early morning fire at the Belle Park encampment area on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024.

“This morning an individual was assisted out of a burning tent at Belle Park with minor burns,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Donaldson following Kingstonist inquiries into the fire, which began at around 6 a.m.

“This took place on the same day Kingson Fire & Rescue removed a structure where multiple heating devices have been seized in recent weeks,” he said.  

“We remain very concerned about the devices being used inside flammable tents and more permanent structures including BBQs for open air fires, homemade woodstoves to provide heat, a gasoline generator which was providing power to numerous electrical appliances and a space heater installed on top of clothing.”

A fire at the Belle Park encampment area early in the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Photo by Logan Cadue

Later in the day, Kingston Fire & Rescue, exercising its powers under section 15 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, removed a wood cabin in Belle Park because it was “required to remove or reduce an immediate threat to life.”

Removal of the structure is not related to enforcement of the Parks By-Law’s prohibition on daytime camping in parks, the City said.

A cabin which was removed by Kingston Fire & Rescue from the Belle Park encampment area on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Photo via City of Kingston.

Under the Act, fire inspectors who believe a risk of fire poses an “immediate threat to life” have the authority to enter on land or premises and “remove anything that may constitute a fire menace or take any action urgently required to remove or reduce the threat to life.”

Since Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, fire inspectors have taken steps to remove or reduce immediate threats to life at this structure on three separate occasions, the City said.

Kingston Fire Prevention officers leave the Belle Park encampment area following inspections on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. Photo by Logan Cadue/Kingstonist.

In that same period, they’ve taken action to remove or reduce immediate threats to life at the Belle Park encampment 31 separate times, according to the City. 

“We will continue to do whatever we can to ensure the safety of everyone here,” said Donaldson.  

Support workers and staff from the City’s Housing and Social Services department were also on site throughout the day, according to the City, offering assistance to anyone affected by the removal of this tent, including offering storage options for belongings and transportation.

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