Homeless encampments are all around the Denver area. Saturday night, the homeless encampment on Elati Street and 8th Avenue went up in flames.
Neighbors made many calls of concern when the fires started. The fire moved very quickly, getting within feet of surrounding homes according to witnesses. The Denver Fire Department said no one was injured in the fire.
The community voiced their concerns about the encampments’ close proximity to three public community schools. Understandably neighbors have worries about a homeless shelter being so close to children’s schools.
The Safe Outdoor Space that caught fire, also known as an SOS site, serves as temporary sheltering for the homeless. The site on 8th and Elati was opened in November 2021 and included about 50 tents. It’s unclear how many of the tents were occupied at the time of the fire.
Neighbors who live nearby said the city didn’t take their concerns seriously before building the tent site. They were concerned about drug use and crime being so close to their homes and schools.
Those who live in the neighborhood are now asking for a different solution to house the homeless, one that works for everyone, so that an incident like this doesn’t happen again.
The official cause of the fire is under investigation.