Investigators lean toward brush fire being accident caused by homeless cooking in woods

Investigators continued to work Thursday to determine the cause of a brush fire that burned eleven acres in North Fort Myers the day before.

A fire was brought under control near the intersection with US-41 and Business 41.

North Fort Myers Fire Control and Rescue Service District is leaning toward the fire being an accident started by people cooking in a nearby homeless camp.

Firefighters were still monitoring the scene Thursday because the fire was close to homes at Island Vista Estates. Luckily, there were no damages to homes and no injuries reported due to the fire. Still, people could be seen on the roofs of their homes spraying water from hoses, and others had major concerns watching the flames a smoke nearby.

To prepare for possible fires, Florida Forest Service told us now is the time for community members to create a go-bags similar to what might be prepared ahead of a hurricane. Make an action plan for you and your family. Find emergency contacts, evacuation routes and where you would take your pets.

The fire district told us brush fires almost always start because of a person’s mistake.

“Dry conditions, people need to be extremely cautious with their everyday lives, and that’s extremely important,” said Christi Kulwicki, a public information officer with the fire district. “Idling in dry grass, you don’t even realize, you go out, you start your car, you’re idling there, you take off and go to the store, by the time you get back, you have a small brush fire, and the fire trucks have covered the area.”

We checked in with Lee County about its homeless outreach teams to see if they’re talking to people about being careful when it’s dry outside.

A county spokesperson told us they’re mostly focused on helping the homeless transition to permanent housing. They do talk with people about being responsible in hopes of preventing fires.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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