PHOTOS: Fire breaks out in White River Junction homeless encampment under downtown bridge

Submitted 6 days ago
Created by
Eric Francis

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - One of a dozen tents in the homeless encampment nestled underneath the Urban Bridge in downtown White River Junction was completely consumed by fire early Wednesday afternoon.

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    No one was hurt and it appeared that no one was actually present in the sprawling camp area when the fire broke out.

    Hartford firefighters were alerted to the burning tent by motorists passing over the bridge near the Bugbee Senior Center who noticed a column of thick smoke rising from the woods below.

    After the fire was put out using extinguishers that were carried in by hand through the trees from the parking lot off Bridge Street, a returning camper told authorities that most of the site had been abandoned in recent days because of the biting cold and that only three men actually spent the night in their tents under the bridge on Tuesday evening.

    Hartford Fire Chief Scott Cooney said at the scene that the cause of the fire was undetermined but he noted that fire investigators found the charred remains of a small propane camping stove which had been inside the tent and considered that a possible source of ignition.

    The camper said he believed the tent belonged to a homeless resident who is in the hospital because of a diabetic emergency and that his tent had been unused for at least three nights.

Occupancy in the encampment, which sits right next to the train tracks, swells in warmer weather

Hartford fire investigators Mike Bedard and Bob Robishaw poke through the remnants of the tent that burned away

The fire marshals look over a charred camping stove that had been in the tent

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