Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the total number of people who were living at the camping site and how many of them had their belongings destroyed.
DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Fire investigators have ruled the fire that ripped through several tents in September at a sanctioned safe camping site as undetermined.
No one was injured but the fire destroyed 16 tents and the belongings of the people living in them at the site located on a Denver Health parking lot at 780 N. Elati St. A total of 37 people were living at the site at the time of the fire.
The Denver Fire Department’s investigative report said several ignition sources were found on the scene including “propane space heaters, electrical fans, hot plates, small cooking grills, smoking materials and drug paraphernalia.”
Fire investigators said employees with the site operator, The Colorado Village Collaborative, could not provide any information regarding who occupied which tents. Also, none of the residents sleeping on site would confirm who was living in the tent where the fire started.
Fire investigators also did a neighborhood survey, but no one had “useful information” according to the report.
Pictures and witnesses pointed out the fire started about 10 p.m. in “a tent four spots in from the northeast side of the encampment.”
FOX31 Problem Solvers requested DFD’s offense report and surveillance video of the fire. The video shows “no one entering or exiting the tent at any time during the incident.”
“The CVC team will learn from this tragedy. We are working diligently to make impactful changes that we will share with you in this incident report online space,” the site read.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers found since the site opened in December 2021, Denver police responded to 35 calls including two assaults, one burglary and six welfare checks. Denver Fire also responded to the address twice.
Thirty-seven people who had been staying at the Lincoln Park location are now at other safe camping sites.
The CVC decided not to reopen the site and relocated the individuals to a new location at 4685 Peoria St. in the Montbello neighborhood.
The new site is on the parking lot of the Arie P. Taylor Municipal Center which also includes a section of Denver Human Services that provides a variety of resources including access to food, medical and housing assistance.
Meanwhile, FOX31 requested information from Denver Fire regarding unsanctioned homeless tent encampments. Denver Fire said they have responded to 227 fires at tent encampments in 2022.