A string of recent fires at homeless encampments scattered across central Edmonton have left two people dead and a third person with serious burns.
The tent fires are the latest in a string of deaths among Edmonton’s homeless population as hundreds of people who live rough on the streets brace for winter.
A 54-year-old man died Saturday after a tent fire broke out in an encampment in the area of 100 Street and 105A Avenue.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services crews were called to the scene near Hope Mission’s Herb Jamieson Centre around 7 p.m. Crews cleared the scene around 8:45 p.m., officials said.
A man, who was inside the tent when the fire broke out, succumbed to his injuries, police said.
Police said the man’s death does not appear to be suspicious, but investigators are awaiting further details from Edmonton Fire Rescue Services and the Chief Medical Examiner.
A woman who has yet to be identified by police died on Sunday when a fire broke out at an encampment just a few blocks away.
Police said first responders were called around 3 p.m. to an encampment at 95 Street and 105A Avenue after a fire broke out inside a multi-layered tent.
Once the flames were extinguished, the woman, believed to be in her mid-20s, was discovered dead inside. Her death remains under investigation, police said.
Then, on Monday, fire crews responded to another fire which broke out in the area of 105A Avenue and 100 Street.
One person was taken to hospital around 6:30 p.m. with burn injuries. Officials had no further details on the victim.
People working the front lines say it has been a deadly season for people who live on the streets of Edmonton.
According to Boyle Street Community Services, 118 of their clients died between the end of June and the first week of October — the deadliest period since they began keeping data on the deaths in 2020.
The city estimates there are more than 2,800 people experiencing homelessness in Edmonton, including more than 750 who are unsheltered, meaning they frequently sleep outside.
Last December, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Chief Joe Zatylny said preventing deadly encampment fires was a priority.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services declined to participate in an interview Tuesday.