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Portland Fire Department Begins Outreach Efforts
in Wake of Homeless Man’s Death.

April 6th’s incident is Portland’s 2nd fire fatality in 2013

PORTLAND, Maine – In the wake of Portland’s most recent fire fatality, the Portland Fire Department will begin an educational outreach for the city’s homeless population.

A fire on Saturday, April 6th claimed the life of homeless man, Brian Barbour, 53, when a candle he was using ignited his tent at a makeshift camp along West Commercial Street.

Portland Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria says the tragedy highlights only one of the vulnerabilities Portland’s homeless population faces nearly every day: “The homeless place themselves at great risk when using an open flame for heating and lighting”.  The Chief is establishing an outreach program to educate the homeless and their advocates in outside fire safety tips and provide alternatives to using open flames in highly flammable tents and makeshift shelters. (Photo Attached: Site of a fire on April 6th which claimed the life of Brian Barbour 53, a homeless man living along West Commercial Street)  

On Tuesday April 16, beginning at 11 am, the Portland Fire Department will be joined by other members of the social services and public safety community to provide the homeless with information cards and battery operated flameless candles at 5 Portland Street. According to Fire Chief LaMoria “This is a small but symbolic attempt to show the homeless in Portland that we care and want to provide real alternatives to an open flame in tents and makeshift shelters.” 

Fire and EMS crews will also have the capability to provide the safety information handout and candles to homeless individuals when they are identified to be at risk.  The Portland Fire Department sincerely thanks Curry Printing of Portland Maine for the complimentary printing services provided in this outreach program.  Mr. Mina of Curry Printing in Portland indicates “I read this and it really bothered me, I want to do what I can to help these people out.”

fire scene