Hamilton’s fire department responded to a fire at 168 King Street East in Downtown Hamilton last night.
A homeless woman has been living irregularly in the recessed doorway of the vacant building for the past few months.
Hamilton Fire units were first dispatched from nearby Station 1 at 8:26 p.m. The fire was quickly upgraded to a multiple alarm response at approximately five minutes later.
On scene, shortly after the fire began, Hamilton Police sergeants stated a witness in a restaurant across the street saw the woman running away shortly after the fire began.
The Hamilton Fire Department Deputy Chief at the scene declined to comment, stating the Fire Department will issue an official statement by email in the morning.
On scene firefighters, who are not authorized to speak to the media, described a well-involved fire upon arrival. They describe an aggressive entry into the building to conduct a primary search for any persons inside and internal firefighting to contain the fire.
They stated nobody was found inside the building.
Fire operations continued well into the early morning hours.
The fire was successfully contained to the building, which is gutted inside. It did not spread into the rear attached accessory structure.
Police stated they were searching for the homeless woman to confirm her well-being.
This event is sure to cause further discussion regarding the response to homelessness.
As of 3:00 a.m. on December 20, no official statements have been issued by emergency services officials.
Production Details v. 1.0.0 Published: December 20, 2022 Last edited: December 20, 2022 Author: Joey Coleman Edit Record v. 1.0.0 original version
There’s many gaps in the reporting here. There’s more to the reporting here that is of interest and important to know, and greater still much needed action items…
I understand that the “vacant building” has been just left to decay by previous owners. It had been removed from the City’s Heritage Register and now up for demolition.
The building is presently owned by the local Philpot Church. Sadly, this building’s entranceway has been home to a homeless woman for MANY months! Disgraceful! It’s the worst weather we’ve seen so far, and as said in the article, the woman was seen running from the building. No one should have to sleep outside in these temperatures – in doorways, empty buildings, garages, in malls and building stairwells, as I’m hearing. This is a crisis and is only getting worse.
Where is leadership in this city, this province…!!! Buildings being demolished for new condo developments ARE NOT providing affordable housing AND there is a huge homeless problem in this city and province, food banks can’t keep up with the hunger issue, the list goes on. We are hearing that Shelters are overflowing. Then what? Whose on first!
The government rhetoric and actions are not meeting up, and are certainly not remedying root causes, nor sufficiently managing the problems. They can’t seem to multi-task or project manage in a more timely manner either so that heritage is protected, homelessness is better supported, affordable housing is a greater reality, safety is paramount, and issues such as seen in this particular incident are remedied. The City must do a much better job here and work together with all of the touchpoints.
Get it together folks and stop just supporting developers and filling their pockets.