Two Small Fires in Two Days

'Warming fires' are popping up throughout the Orchard City.


The Santa Clara County Fire Department reported an illegal "warming fire" on Wednesday at 1475 So. Bascom Ave. 

The fire was reported at 7:49 p.m. Jan. 16 and was described by the fire department as a natural vegetation fire and warming fire at a homeless camp.

A second "unintentional" fire was reported at 12:46 a.m. on Jan. 8 along Highway 17 behind the soundwall at Hamilton Avenue. This was also described by the fire department as a "warming fire" by a homeless person.

"Obviously right now, due to the extreme weather, people will have fires outside, particularly if they don't have a home," says Santa Clara County Fire Department Operations Capt. Gil Smith. "We feel awful that we have to put them out but because it's not in a designated area we have to do it."

Warming fires are generally a fire that the department classifies as something in a person's backyard, in a contained fire pit or something that a homeless person or people set up to keep warm.

"Generally, if the fire is due to a homeless person, we need to put them out because they're usually not contained in a fire pit and not legal," he said. "If it's in a person's backyard, we don't have to put them out because provisions in the fire code all people to have a fire pit in their backyard."

A third fire was reported at 2:28 p.m. on Jan. 15 at 41 Heritage Village Ln. This incident was described by the fire department as a dumpster fire with the cause unknown.


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Jenna Skinner January 18, 2013 at 03:45 AM
I live in the neighborhood behind that sound wall at Hamilton an 17. There is a huge homeless problem in the creek area off of Hamilton and Bascom, under Bascom Avenue, next to the light rail tracks. This is water district land and is their responsibility to monitor. You can't go to the 7-11 without being hassled, the garbage outside their encampment is piling up and our cars are broken into on a regular basis. I can't tell you how frustrating this is for those of us who live here. Anyone have a solution?


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