Fire near homeless encampment extinguished

Fire near homeless encampment extinguished

21 March 2008

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Santa Clara, USA — Firefighters early this morning extinguished a one-acre brush fire that threatened a homeless encampment in the Santa Clara River Bottom, authorities said.

A total of 26 firefighters from the Ventura County and Ventura City fire departments responded to the fire near Surfer’s Knoll and the Ventura Harbor about 2:18 a.m., according to a statement from the Ventura City Fire Department.

Firefighters found a one-acre fire that surrounded a homeless encampment, and spent the next four hours putting it out and mopping it up.

No one was trapped in the encampment and no injuries were reported.

Fire investigators believe the blaze was began as a warming fire that got out of control.

Ventura police and harbor patrol officers also responded to the scene.

Ventura City firefighters have responded to at least four similar fires in local river bottoms in recent months, said Battalion Chief David Frost of the Ventura City Fire Department.

These fires are difficult to extinguish because they are isolated from roads and easy access to water, Frost said, noting that firefighters have to truck in the water they use to douse the blazes.

Firefighters battling river bottom fires also have to work around the trash and human waste that often builds up in encampments, he said.

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