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Cleanup begins at Barrie homeless encampment destroyed by fire

Ministry of Transportation crew, under watchful eye of OPP, removes trash and camping debris after March 13 fire at Bayfield Street and Highway 400

Cleanup began today at a Barrie homeless encampment on the edge of Highway 400 at Bayfield Street with provincial police and Ministry of Transportation personnel on-site.

A contracting crew began the daunting task which involved piles of trash, as well as charred belongings and camping gear, after a recent fire rendered the site uninhabitable to the city’s unhoused community. The March 13 blaze burned a large portion of the camp.

Ontario Provincial Police officers inspected the site on foot at around 8:45 a.m. on April 23, prior to the ministry's cleanup beginning.

During a walk-through of the site, strewn among the heaps of food waste, plastics and abandoned clothing were discarded syringes and a used naloxone kit.

Naloxone is a fast-acting drug used to temporarily reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.

A torn and dirty tent could also be seen under the trees along with the remnants of a charred barbecue with a fire extinguisher sitting on it.

The cleanup crew worked on foot with rakes and saws in hand, filling several garbage bags with trash.

A small excavator worked on the larger piles, dumping the bucket loads onto a small truck.

None of the previous inhabitants could be seen in the area, and police remained on hand to keep watch over the operation.

Kevin Lamb

About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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