Area fire highlights plight of area’s homeless

Published 12:18 am Saturday, December 23, 2023

VIDOR — A fire that destroyed a shed and damaged a second shed Thursday was one of several blazes that occurred on the property at 820 Cherry Road in Vidor.

The concern in the situation is for the homeless individuals living on the property, Orange County Emergency Services District 1 Lieutenant Kenneth Luce said.

Thursday’s fire was reported at approximately 10:20 a.m., when firefighters arrived to find a small shed fully on fire that had started to spread to a nearby larger shed being used by the homeless individuals.

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It was first believed that a person was still inside the shed, so firefighters made a fast attack with one concentrating on the fire and another commencing the search.

No one was found inside the structure, though an occupant was found who allegedly fled before the fire occurred, Luce said.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is undetermined as of Friday and under investigation.

Luce said authorities have had reported problems such as illegal burning as well as a fires at the same address last week. The sheds and main structure do not have utilities.

The original home on the property suffered major fire damage and was deemed uninhabitable.

Another snag in the issue is the owner of the property is deceased and a current owner has not been located, according to Luce.

He said the main thing is to find organizations that can help get the individuals on the property the care they need.

The number of people in the encampment fluctuates.

“We go out, investigate and always try to find solutions to help people,” he said. “We want to help the people, so they don’t have to be in this environment. We want to help point them in the right direction.”

Luce is hoping the public can help in finding the right organization for the individuals experiencing homelessness at the site.