Squatter Builds Open Fire in Northwest Side Home to Keep Warm

posted by 1200 WOAI -

A squatter who had broken into an empty house on the city's northwest side set an 'open fire' in an upstairs bedroom to try to keep warm, firefighters tell News Radio 1200 WOAI.

Crews were called to Warpath Street, which is near Holmes High School, about 5AM on a report of a house fire.

When they arrived, they found smoke and flames coming from the bedroom. When they investigated, they found the apparently homeless man had made a 'makeshift heater' in the room which had caught the house on fire.

For a while, the man barricaded himself in the burning room and refused to come out, but police convinced him to come downstairs.Firefighters also found 'buckets of urine and feces' in the room.

Damage was moderate to the house and the man was apparently not injured.

Squatters breaking into abandoned homes has become an increasingly serious problem around the city over the past year, as higher housing prices and spreading gentrification have pushed people out of low cost housing.

No word on what charges the homeless man might face.