Saanich police say they have arrested a Regina Park’s tent city organizer after she allegedly blasted an air horn in a firefighter’s ear.
The 43-year-old woman, who police said has referred to herself as the encampment founder, was arrested for obstruction on July 6 at around noon.
Police said firefighters, with support from police and parks, were at Regina Park to ensure campers were complying with fire orders, including moving their shelters and removing fire hazard materials.
According to police, the 43-year-old woman would not allow Saanich firefighters onto the property. She was allegedly physically blocking them from ensuring there were no hazards.
“At one point the woman produced an air-horn, pointed it at the ear of a fireman and blasted a loud audible signal in his direction,” police said.
Police said the name of the woman will not be released until charges are sworn. She will appear in court at a later date.
Regina Park’s tent city has been in place since May. Police said on June 29, the Office of the Fire Commissioner issued an order, pursuant to the Fire Service Act, to the District of Saanich.
The order states that in order to mitigate fire and life safety hazard in Regina Park, the District of Saanich needs to ensure the tent city residents comply with the following items:
1. Position all personal temporary shelters and temporary structures so that they are separated by one (1) metre to prevent the rapid spread of fire.
2. Remove flammable tarpaulins over personal temporary shelters and other structures.
3. Personal temporary shelters and temporary structures must be positioned such that entrances face a path of egress and have three (3) metres of clearance away from combustible brush.
4. Remove all tents within three (3) metres of a combustible fence or structure.
5. Ensure a path of egress is maintained clear of obstructions for all personal temporary shelters and temporary structures.
6. Have all propane cylinders stored in a secured area away from egress routes.
7. Remove all open flame lighting and heating from personal temporary shelters.
8. Remove combustible household furniture from the site.
9. Remove all combustible construction materials, wood pallets, lumber flooring, carpet, underlay and excessive combustible storage from the site.
10. Separate open flame cooking equipment a minimum of three (3) metres from combustible materials and do not use under combustible overhangs.
11. Ensure no smoking within the park.
Between June 29 and July 5, District of Saanich staff went to Regina Park to inform residents about the safety risks and the order. Everyone in the encampment have been asked to comply with all items immediately in order to mitigate fire and life safety hazards in the park.