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A fire broke out at a tent encampment in the Paradise Row area of Saint John on March 25, 2024. Image: Submitted/Nick C.

Investigation continues into fatal encampment fire

By Brad Perry Mar 26, 2024 | 3:56 PM

Saint John police say the cause of a fatal fire at a tent encampment in the city remains under investigation.

First responders were called to a fire on Paradise Row near Somerset Street on Monday afternoon.

The bodies of two people were found once fire crews had extinguished the flames, according to police.

Acting Staff Sgt. Matt Weir said Tuesday that investigators are still trying to identify the individuals.

“It’ll depend on the condition of the remains how the identity is established,” Weir told reporters during a news conference.

“From my experience, that process could be through fingerprints or DNA or dental. It could take anywheres from a few days to a few weeks.”

When asked if police have any reason to believe the fire was intentional, the spokesperson said the cause is still being investigated at this time.

This is the second fatal fire at a tent encampment in Saint John this winter. Peter ‘Evan’ MacArthur died after flames broke out at an encampment on Jan. 6.

Meanwhile, there was also a fire at an encampment between Waterloo and Exmouth streets on Feb. 18. No one was hurt in that fire, which police believe was deliberately set.

Weir said the cause of the February fire is still under investigation and there are no further details at this time.