Homeless man suffers burns in remote encampment fire

Jan. 16—A man living in a remote homeless encampment in Manchester suffered burns to his feet Monday morning, according to the city's fire department.

The Manchester Fire Department used its off-road, 4-wheel drive "Gator" vehicle to reach the camp, which was between the Merrimack River and Stark Park in the North End, according to Battalion Fire Chief Kenneth Proulx.

The camp was so remote that firefighters answering a 911 call followed tracks in new-fallen snow to the encampment, he said.

The man, 34, told firefighters a tarp caught on fire and that he was asleep at the time.

Proulx did not know the extent of the injuries, but the man was transported to a hospital.

The encampment, located around Victoria Street and Chauncey Avenue, comprised three tents, Proulx said.

With homeless people increasingly relying on tents for shelter in the cold, the risk of fire has grown.

Last week, a man living in a tent outside the Families in Transition shelter accidentally set his shirt on fire, an incident used by police to say the cluster of tents presented a public-safety hazard.

The man refused medical treatment. Some fires involving homeless people are much more serious.

In December 2021, a woman died in a fire inside a run-down RV that housed several people. The vehicle parked at different spots for months around Pulaski Park in downtown Manchester.

And in December 2020, an elderly homeless mad died when his tent caught fire during a snowstorm. Authorities have blamed his death on a gas heater.