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Barrie encampment fire deemed 'not accidental,' police investigating

Monday night fire near Anne Street, between Vespra and George streets, being investigated as possibly suspicious
Emergency crews were called out Monday night to an encampment fire near Vespra and George streets in Barrie, not far from Anne Street.

A fire Monday night at a homeless encampment in a wooded area near Anne Street, between Vespra and George streets, is being investigated as possibly suspicious.

The fire started around 9:30 p.m., Aug. 28, and engulfed an encampment in an area known for being a living space for people who are homeless. 

Barrie Fire Chief Cory Mainprize told BarrieToday the blaze occurred in an improvised structure and was fully consumed when crews arrived.   

“Some extension into the wooded area occurred prior to being extinguished,” Mainprize said. “Some businesses are in the vicinity, but they were not at significant risk.”

There were no injuries reported, but Mainprize said an investigation determined the fire was "not accidental."

Barrie police communications co-ordinator Peter Leon said officers are continuing with the investigation.

While there have been no arrests, Leon called the incident “possibly suspicious.”

Mainprize said fire crews are also reminding all members of the community to use caution and follow manufacturer recommendations when using and operating any heating or cooking appliances.