ITHACA, N.Y. — Firefighters extinguished a fire in the Jungle, the homeless encampment behind Walmart and Harbor Freight Tools on Monday. No one was injured but there was heavy damage, the Ithaca Fire Department said Tuesday.
The fire occurred at 12:30 p.m. Monday. Police were dispatched to the area after a large plume of black smoke was visible. Crews had a difficult time finding the best way to access the fire, the IFD said, and firefighters ultimately stretched about 500 feet of hose into the encampment to extinguish the fire. There was also a concern about a large propane tank close to the fire.
The fire destroyed at least one dwelling in the Jungle. A local community member started a fundraiser on Facebook to help raise money to help the resident rebuild and get supplies for the winter. Second Wind Cottages is also accepting donations for the man. A list of needed items is available on the Ithaca Homeless Crisis Facebook page.
The Ithaca Fire Department said a similar fire occurred on Sept. 5 when crews were sent to a camper in the same area. No one was injured in that fire, but the IFD said, “like this recent blaze, there was heavy damage and it could have been worse.”
The IFD said the cause of the fires is currently unknown, but the Ithaca Police Department is investigating.
As a safety tip for calling 911, the IFD said in a news release, “Fire officials remind the community that if you call 911, for any reason, to try and have someone meet rescuers near a main road and direct them in. Especially when down a long driveway or seasonal road. Turn on porch lights and flash them if needed and try to stay on the phone with dispatchers if more guidance is needed to get help to you.”
All images provided by the Ithaca Fire Department.