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No sign of resident after early morning RV fire, North Vancouver crews say

A very similar RV fire happened on the same property a year ago
District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services members douse a fire that destroyed an RV that someone had been living in near the Capilano Road on-ramp to Highway 1, March 7, 2024. | photo supplied

North Vancouver RCMP and District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services are investigating after an RV that someone had been living in was destroyed by fire, early Thursday.

Fire crews were called to the property between Highway 1 and the eastbound on-ramp from Capilano Road around 5:25 a.m. They found the RV fully engulfed in flames, which they were able to quickly douse.

A bystander told firefighters that there was usually a person living in the RV but they were not around at the time,” said assistant fire Chief Scott Ferguson.

“Luckily there was nobody inside. There were no injuries and no deaths in this fire,” he said.

Ferguson said they have been in touch with North Shore Emergency Management officials who could connect the RV owner with emergency social services, but as of Thursday afternoon, they don’t know who that person is, let alone where they are.

It’s too soon to say what might have caused the blaze. North Vancouver RCMP members were called in to join the investigation on Thursday morning.

Ferguson said they believe the property is owned by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. There is a gate blocking vehicle access to the property, Ferguson said, but people do show up there from time to time.

Ferguson said DNV fire crews responded to a very similar RV fire at the property a year ago. At the time, crews found they could not connect to the fire hydrant because “it had been tampered with to the point where it was not usable.”

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the ministry said staff will be reviewing access to the site, which is within the ministry’s right of way but not being used by the ministry, to see if more can be done to discourage camping.

“Homelessness is a significant issue affecting people and communities throughout B.C. and addressing it is a critical priority for our government. We know that people are using highway rights-of-way such as this, and other public highway rest areas, for longer-term camping. Conditions at these encampments can become unsafe, and incidents like fire raise serious concerns for the safety of those living there, for area residents, and for people travelling in close proximity on provincial highway,” it read. “We will also be working with the District of North Vancouver, partner ministries, BC Housing and local service providers to provide outreach to those living at this location to ensure appropriate supports are offered.”