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Another tiny home destroyed by fire at Moccasin Flats

Eight of 17 homes built for downtown encampment residents by volunteers over past year have met a fiery end

Another night, another fire in Moccasin Flats. The blaze left a tiny home in ruins early Monday morning at the Lower Patricia Boulevard encampment.

The area has been plagued by at least nine separate structure fires since May 20.

“It’s certainly an odd number of units (being burnt) in a short period of time,” said Prince George Fire Rescue Chief Cliff Warner. “It would seem there’s something odd going on, for sure.”

The latest happened at about 1 a.m. Monday when fire crews were dispatched to extinguish a  fire in a tiny home near the centre of the camp on the east side of downtown.

The fire had already consumed most of the building when the first firefighters arrived at the scene.

“The crews arrived and found one of those tiny homes fully involved and extinguished it,” said Warner. “There was nobody around that claimed occupancy of it. We drove by this morning and saw there was a burnt-out bed frame and not much else pulled out of there. Whatever else was in there was consumed.”

Eight of the 17 tiny homes built by volunteers over the past year at Moccasin Flats have now been destroyed by fire.

“Of the nine (fires since May 20), all have been tiny homes, except one which was a large (10-foot  X 30-foot) structure built last fall,” Warner said. “When this one burned, it also consumed two of the structures included in the count.”

Warner said the cause has been determined in just two of the encampment fires over the past month.

“One of them was an occupant burning inside for warmth, another was a small fire started by an occupant using an unapproved heating source and the remaining have been fully involved fires (with) no occupants around for these fires,” he said.

Warner said because none of the homes are insured, there are no forensic tests done by fire investigators to determine if accelerants were used to purposely set them on fire. He figures some of those fires were no accidents, but without investigations it’s impossible to know that for sure.

“Some of them we would deem suspicious because there’s no logical reason to burn. However, most of them are deemed undetermined just because of the general nature of the way they’ve been built, not following building code or fire code, it could be a manner of things causing these to burn,” Warner said.