The City of Edmonton says it is working with its partners to increase safety for the city’s most vulnerable following the deaths of four people experiencing homelessness in fire-related situations over the past couple of months.
The most recent death happened on Wednesday morning, when a man’s body was found in an abandoned building following a fire in the McCauley neighbourhood. Fire crews were called to the building at the corner of 95 Street and 106 Avenue shortly after 4 a.m.
In a news release Friday afternoon, the city said there have been four fire-related deaths this fall involving people who are homeless. The other three have occurred in the last two months and include a person who gained access to a former lodging house downtown, a person who the city said intentionally went inside a locked waste collection bin and a person seeking shelter in an encampment.
“This is a tragedy,” said Rob McAdam, deputy fire chief of public safety.
“The safety of all Edmonton citizens is, and continues to be, our top priority at Edmonton Fire Rescue. Individuals experiencing homelessness face unique fire risks. Fire rescue and our community partners must evolve prevention efforts to ensure optimal safety for all Edmontonians.”
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There are currently about 2,800 people in the city without a permanent home, according to the city. About 1,200 of those people are sleeping outside or in shelters on any given night.
Those living on Edmonton streets may seek shelter in encampments, abandoned buildings or other structures, which can be dangerous.
The city said it is working with several external partners to develop ways to improve fire safety for vulnerable Edmontonians.
Edmonton Fire Rescue is also working on ways to reduce incidents involving fires at vacant properties.
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