A man sustained burns to his body near this spot around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13 in Courtenay. The fire was left of the pathway. The Station youth housing facility and city public works yard are to the right of the trail. Photo by Terry Farrell

A man sustained burns to his body near this spot around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13 in Courtenay. The fire was left of the pathway. The Station youth housing facility and city public works yard are to the right of the trail. Photo by Terry Farrell

Man catches fire sleeping while outdoors in downtown Courtenay

Firefighters say man still burning when they arrived after he fell asleep next to his fire

A man was badly burned after his clothing caught on fire while sleeping in a wooded area in in downtown Courtenay Tuesday.

According to the Courtenay fire department, it appears the man had fallen asleep beside a small fire, which ignited his clothing. He was still on fire when help arrived.

It was around 3:30 a.m. when emergency personnel were called to an area next to the Station youth housing facility (formerly Abbeyfield House), by the City of Courtenay public works yard.

where.

“The RCMP and ourselves extinguished the fire and took care of the patient until BC Ambulance arrived,” Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said. “We assisted them, getting him out of a ditch and onto a stretcher, and they transported (him to hospital).”

Bardonnex guessed the man to be in his 40s. He said nine firefighters and two members of the Comox Valley RCMP attended.

Andrea Cupelli, co-ordinator of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, said the organization is “deeply sorry to hear about this tragedy.”

In January, she said the four local municipalities endorsed a housing proposal that outlined the need for an additional 50 spaces of emergency shelter to bridge the gap until another 50-100 units of supportive housing can be built. The coalition prepared the proposal, which was submitted to BC Housing and to senior government representatives.

“We continue to advocate for this plan as everyone deserves the right to a safe, warm place to rest their head at night, and to prevent tragedies such as this from occurring,” Cupelli said.

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