Fire along Springwater Trail has neighbors blaming homeless - KPTV - FOX 12

Fire along Springwater Trail has neighbors blaming homeless

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Fire investigators are trying to figure out what sparked an early morning blaze along the Springwater Trail near Southeast 82nd Avenue. Crews got the first call at 6:20 a.m. Monday.

Officials have not pinpointed the official cause yet, but neighbor James Tompkins is already pointing his finger at homeless campers.

“I could see it from my property, the flames. They were huge, massive flames.”

Tompkins captured cell phone video of the 40 by 70 foot fire at the edge of his property. It was a difficult spot to reach, but firefighters arrived and put it out before too much damage was done.

There are dozens of tents close to where the fire started. Tompkins doesn’t think that’s a coincidence and this is exactly what he’s been worried about.

“I could almost guarantee transients started this fire,” said Tompkins. “We’re scared, but I’m prepared. I have hoses set up and ready to go in the summertime for fires just because of this.”

Preston Knapp does security for Vital Auto Brokers, a business that lost an old trailer in Monday’s fire. Knapp says evidence of campfires is all around their property all the time. They’ve called the police and the city, but Knapp says nothing changes. He fears the next fire will be worse.

“We’re grateful the fire department came out and were timely in getting this handled,” said Knapp. “And the police, they do their best. But at the same time, there needs to be something more appropriately done about everything.”

A fire investigator spent the day interviewing witnesses, including homeless campers.

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