2nd fire this month breaks out at Minneapolis homeless encampment

November 30, 2018 12:15 PM

A fire - the second this month - erupted at a homeless encampment in Minneapolis early Friday morning.

The fire occurred at about 1 a.m. in the area of Hiawatha Avenue near Franklin and 16th Avenues.


Firefighters said they fear the threat of fires at the homeless encampment could be an ongoing problem with the arrival of cold weather.

Firefighters reported the fire destroyed at least six tents but no one was hurt. They added there were reports of propane cylinders exploding prior to their arrival.

Kariece Wilson has lived at the encampment since May. She said she was sleeping when the fire started.

“First it was just two loud bangs and where I was standing at, it sounded like it was coming from downtown, but then I looked up and saw all the black smoke," Wilson said. "I came down to be nosy and saw the big flames coming over the wall.”

Firefighters said fortunately time was on their side.

"Very lucky, the weather is right, not super cold, a fire station right nearby, and it was seen right away and reported and we got on top of this as fast as we could," Deputy Chief Todd White, with the Minneapolis Police Department, said.

Homeless encampment coverage

Firefighters said crews worked quickly to keep the fire from spreading.

A witness, who was driving by the area when he saw the flames, said, "It's messed up though because they have nowhere to go tonight; all their tents are melted down but I hope everything works out in their favor."

Fire officials have issued warnings about fires at the homeless encampment and recently erected a warming tent for those in the camp.

RELATED: Fire department puts up warming tent at Minneapolis homeless encampment

Officials said Friday's fire is under investigation. Social workers are helping people who lost their tents find nearby shelters.

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Rebecca Omastiak

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