Fires started as cold snap hits rough sleepers in Peterborough

The bungalow damaged by fire in Portland Avenue in Peterborough.

The bungalow damaged by fire in Portland Avenue in Peterborough.

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Two fires in Peterborough were caused by homeless people trying to keep warm in the freezing winter weather.

The fires were started early on Tuesday morning, as temperatures plummeted.

One was started in an unoccupied bungalow in Portland Avenue, New England, while the other started in a garage in Park Road, Dogsthorpe.

Peterborough City Council has to offer accommodation to residents living on the streets if the temperature in the city is forecast to hit 0C or below for three nights in a row.

A spokesman for Peterborough City Council said: “Our Severe Weather Emergency Provision was triggered on Friday, and remains in place now.

“Rough sleepers can present themselves at 21 Towler Street, a shelter which is run by Axiom Housing.”

When using the shelter, rough sleepers are given advice on how to find a more sustainable housing option.

The shelter has seen at least six people using it each night, with 10 people presenting themselves on January 18.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Station Commander Gavin Hammond, Community Risk Manager for Peterborough, said there was evidence the two fires were started by homeless people: “Although we understand the situation people may find themselves in at this cold time of year, we would strongly advise against lighting these sorts of fires in buildings owing to the inherent dangers of smoke and smoke inhalation with no proper means of ventilation.”