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2 dead after tent fires over the weekend: EPS

An Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Fire Investigation vehicle. (Dave Mitchell/CTV News Edmonton) An Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Fire Investigation vehicle. (Dave Mitchell/CTV News Edmonton)

Two people died as a result of fires in encampments over the weekend, the Edmonton Police Service has confirmed.

On Saturday, firefighters responded to a fire at 100 Street and 105 Avenue shortly before 7:15 p.m.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services responded to a report about a "person on fire" on Saturday in the area of 100 Street and 105 Avenue around 7:15 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, the man had died.

On Sunday, fire broke out at a tent at 95 Street and 105 Avenue.

An unidentified woman believed to be in her mid-20s was found dead inside the tent.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services says both fires are under investigation.

EPS says seven people died in encampment fires in 2022.

No deaths had been reported yet this year.

Police say encampment fires are a big concern year round and the risk increases as the temperatures drop.

"We do see throughout the year, open flames within encampments, and that's something that my team sees on a daily basis," Staff Sgt. Michael Dreilich of the Crime Suppression Branch told reporters.

"A tent doesn't retain any kind of heat, so it's a source for cooking food, but then also for keeping warm throughout the year."

Police would like to see encampment residents move to shelters but acknowledge there are boundaries for many in doing so.

"We understand that there's mental health issues, addiction issues, that contribute to the situation that they're in. But every individual is uniqueand every response has to be unique as well," said Acting Supt. Angie Kemp.

"We can't force individuals to go to shelter. But what we can do is provide the options that are available and work with building relationships with those individuals to make sure that they feel comfortable to pick the option that's best suited for them."

Jason Nixon, minister of seniors, community and social services was asked about the deaths at the legislature on Tuesday.

"We have a full capacity, all of our facilities are able to have a place for everybody to stay. We're not turning anybody away from our shelter system. And we're going to continue to work with the Public Safety Committee in the City of Edmonton, the City of Calgary and other municipalities on field encampments, because they're dangerous," he told reporters, adding:

"Anytime you hear somebody has lost their life or hurt themselves, my heart goes out to those individuals." Top Stories

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