VIDEO: The nation’s capital is suffering a surge in the number of fires and fire department responses to encampments for people experiencing homelessness.
A News4 I-Team investigation revealed fire department calls more than doubled at encampments already this year.
The problem is posing a risk to the safety and health of people living in encampments and in nearby neighborhoods.
“I’ve seen several tents on fire, burned up,” said Kory Walker, who has been living at an encampment on O Street NW for multiple years. The fires are often accidentally ignited by makeshift heating equipment, including grills, space heaters and cooking equipment, said Walker. Others, he said, are deliberately set during disputes between people living in encampments.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Rachelle Nigro said the encampment near New Jersey Avenue and O Street NW had several large fires in recent months.