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No injuries reported after fire at downtown Guelph encampment


Flames were seen in downtown Guelph Sunday after a fire broke out at an encampment near the corner of Neeve and Wellington streets.

According to Guelph police, several 911 calls about the fire came in just before 9 p.m. on Sunday.

“There were two tents that were completely destroyed. Fortunately, neither of them were occupied at the time and there were no injuries reported,” Scott Tracey, a spokesperson with the Guelph Police Service, said.

Burnt garbage and other materials are still at the site. Some trees in the area had ash on them on Monday. Police said the fire is not considered suspicious.

“Because of the extent of the damage, probably the cause will not ever be known. But certainly it does cause concern when there's a fire where people are living,” Tracey said.

A man who lives across the river from where the fire happened said he heard popping noises and was concerned the flames were going to spread.

“[I was] watching TV, and all of a sudden, I look out the window and I see a big puff of like a fireball,” Raymond Sartor said.

According to Sartor, the encampment had been in the area for about two months. He’s now calling on city council to find a solution to give everyone somewhere safe to go.

“Figure out what to do, pass a by law, and fix it for everyone. I mean, Guelph is a kind town. We want to take care of homeless, but we don't want them blowing things up that can endanger people,” Sartor said.

The Royal City Mission said they haven’t heard from the people who were living in the tents that caught fire, but expect to soon.

“[I] am sure we will see them in the next little while since they will need to replace the items needed to survive in the cold weather,” Kevin Coghill, Executive Director/Pastor at Royal City Mission ,said in an email. “It seems ludicrous to have to say that when housing is supposed to be a Human Right.”

Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie was not available for an interview. The City of Guelph and Wellington County held two closed-door meetings in January to address housing issues in the community, details from the meetings are likely to be released in March. Top Stories

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