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Homeless camp on east side concerns residents

Posted at 6:10 PM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 12:10:04-05

As temperatures drop with winter just around the corner, from time to time, homeless people set up camp in washes and alleyways, lighting fires to cook and stay warm. 

"When I see it, it just gives me the willies, you know?" Sandra Lucento said.

She's lived in the neighborhood for ten years. While she doesn't consider it a regular problem, she's aware that people do camp out in the washes and alleys behind people's backyards.

"I see people with blankets, a fire usually," she said. "Tin cans and water jugs, things like that."

Just recently, some people who live in an east side neighborhood in Tucson spotted a new campsite, and caught video of someone putting out a fire. When Lucento found out about it, she said she wasn't surprised. However, she was concerned.

"The main concern is the fire," Lucento said.

That's where Tucson Fire Captain Andy Skaggs' main concern is as well.

"Folks don't mean to start a fire, they're not intentionally trying to cause damage," Skaggs said. "However, if they're doing so in an unsafe way, that's when it's going to get away and cause those problems."

People are allowed to have recreational fires, which are small, controlled, and within certain distances from any combustibles or structures. For more information on those regulations, click here.

Nevertheless, if someone sees smoke or flames, he advises they call TFD.

"If they feel threatened by it, or they feel that its endangering their area, they can call 911," Skaggs said. "The fire department will respond and attend to it."

If a person encounters a homeless camp, they are urged to report it to the City. Once the City is aware, it will implement it's homeless camp protocol to take care of the situation.