Fire brings attention to Texarkana homeless camp - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Fire brings attention to Texarkana homeless camp

The fire destroyed at least one tent. The fire destroyed at least one tent.

At the end of a trail at the edge of downtown Texarkana, Texas is a self-made camp by the homeless. Firefighters were called to the site to put out a fire that destroyed at least one tent being used as shelter.

"Everybody got out and nobody was hurt. We haven't figured out what started it yet. The occupants, they kind of scattered off," says Capt. Rick Holder of the Texarkana, Texas Fire Department.

The camp is located about two blocks from The Randy Sams Outreach Center that serves as a homeless shelter. Shelter officials recently took a census of the area and says 31 people lived at the site.

"In this case, a fire has hurt them, and we now are seeing an influx of people seeking shelter. And those [who] aren't seeking shelter are seeking other services like clothing," says Jennifer Laurent, Director of Randy Sams.

Laurent says there are at least three other tent camps around the Texarkana area in spite of available space at the outreach center.

"Some people do not feel comfortable living under rules. We have curfew times, and they don't want to be told what to do. Some have committed an offense here that makes them ineligible," Laurent says.

Police say they are aware of the homeless camps around the downtown area, adding that there isn't much they can do about them because the camps are based on private property.

"If we get specific calls and have specific information that there is a problem, then we will go deal with that problem in accordance with any laws that are violated," Holder says.

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