Crews knock down fire at Toronto homeless encampment

TORONTO — Officials say that crews knocked down a fire at a Toronto homeless encampment early Sunday morning.

The authorities were called around 5 a.m. after receiving reports of “screaming, explosions and a fire involving three tents and one wooden structure” at Lamport Stadium on King Street West.

Officials say that there were no reported injuries and that Toronto Police Services is assisting in the fire investigation.

The city says that Toronto’s Street-to-Homes staff are on site to offer “safe, indoor space” to anyone displaced by the fire.

The fire comes days after city officials and dozens of police officers tried to clear the encampment.

A couple dozen people have been living in the area since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The city posted trespass notices at Lamport Stadium warning the people living in tents that camping in city parks is not allowed and that they could be removed or fined. The city added that it is working to help relocate residents to temporary hotel accommodations.

On Wednesday, officials enforced that notice, leading to heated arguments and physical altercations with some activists.

The city said that it allowed some dwellings to remain “for the safety of all concerned.”

In a news release issued Sunday, the city said that park encampments pose a significant fire risk and there has been a 250 per cent increase in encampment fires since January 2020.

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