The aftermath of a fire in a temporary camp area along the steep banks of the Fraser River off of Water Avenue. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Hope crews put out structure fire at Fraser River camp

Fire in structure along steep river bank resulted in no injuries, fire chief confirms

Hope fire crews worked to put out a fire at a camp along the banks of the Fraser River July 14.

Fire chief Tom DeSorcy said four Hope firefighters worked on the structure fire at a temporary camp along the steep banks of the Fraser River. Two of the firefighters advanced down the slope fitted with lifejackets, while two other stayed at the top.

“We actioned it very cautiously from the slope, of course we were wearing proper gear because there were a lot of toxins – tarps, burning black smoke,” DeSorcy said. Firefighters from the wildfire service were called out, in the case brush caught fire, as well as ambulance personnel who had initially called in the fire.

The person associated with the structure was unaccounted for police said, so crews fought the fire aggressively in the case that there was someone inside. Shortly after, they were informed the person was at another place and accounted for.

When the Hope Standard visited the site July 15, the charred remains of the structure were evident in addition to debris floating nearby.

Since the fire, DeSorcy and the team’s fire prevention officer have gone out to various places where people who are facing homelessness make camp together with an outreach worker.

The visit was about education and fire prevention, a request DeSorcy said came from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We’re not intending to go there and start enforcing fire safety, but to be there to look for concerns for public safety, for their safety,” he said. This includes pointing out potential hazards, while understanding people may need to have a fire to keep warm.

“Most people there, I know a lot of them personally. And people are people, you treat them with respect and dignity,” DeSorcy said.

Hope firefighters have been to several fire calls in various camps around the Hope area he said, including three vehicle fires in an area near Tom Berry Road over the past year.

Read more: Hope crews respond to small structure fire in ‘apparent homeless camp’

Sometimes passing drivers call in smoke sightings at camps not knowing they are fires for warmth and cooking, which the fire department then goes to check out.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:

Facebook and follow us on Twitter

firehomeless housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Speed carving event on Friday and Saturday in Memorial Park

Organizers are keeping event small, physically distanced and stocked with sanitizer

Mission man who nearly died from COVID-19 at Abbotsford hospital reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

UBC soccer star Victory Shumbusho offers one-on-one training for Chilliwack players

The Chilliwack FC grad believes players need more training to reach higher levels of soccer

Wings and Wheels fundraiser ready to roll in Abbotsford this weekend

Unique collection of cars invading Tradex for drive-thru experiences on Saturday and Sunday

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read