Tent removed at Belle Park due to ‘immediate threat to life’

Kingston Fire & Rescue and Kingston Police on scene at the encampment at Belle Park on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Photo by Lucas Mulder/Kingstonist.

Earlier today, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, Kingston Fire & Rescue (KFR) removed a tent in Belle Park “because it was required to remove or reduce an immediate threat to life,” according to a release from the City of Kingston.

In the release, the City stated that KFR was exercising powers under section 15 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. On Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, the City released a statement noting that KFR had already issued Threat to Life notices at the Belle Park Encampment regarding multiple fire hazards in the area.

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.

The City noted that fire officials consulted with Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal before taking action. Removal of the tent is reportedly not related to enforcement of the Parks By-Law‘s prohibition on daytime camping in parks.

Since Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024, fire inspectors have taken steps to remove or reduce immediate threats to life at this particular tent on three separate occasions, according to the release. The City reported that in that same period, KFR have taken action to remove or reduce immediate threats to life at the Belle Park encampment approximately 24 separate times.

“This is a safety issue and the well-being of those who use this tent remains our biggest concern,” said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Donaldson. “Fire officials have previously removed a number of devices that posed danger when used inside this flammable tent, including wood stoves and propane tanks.”

According to the City, support workers, including a child welfare service worker and staff from the City’s Housing and Social Services department, were on site and available to assist anyone affected by the removal of this tent, including offering storage options for belongings and transportation. 

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