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After a fatal fire, advocates in Bangor say the city needs to prioritize unhoused residents

Bangor fire.jpg
Lia Russell
via the Bangor Daily News
Firefighters responded to a fire at 196 Union St. in Bangor on Sunday morning that claimed the lives of three men.

Advocates in Bangor are calling for the city to prioritize the needs of residents experiencing homelessness following a fire that killed three people over the weekend.

28-year old Tim Tuttle, 31-year-old Dylan Smith, and 56-year-old Andrew Allen died in a fire at a vacant duplex on Union Street Sunday morning. Police say all three were homeless.

In a statement, the Bangor Area Housing Coalition noted that the fire took place only days after a sweep of an encampment underneath I-395, which local officials said was needed because of the area's inaccessibility to emergency vehicles in ice and snow. The group says that several unhoused residents wanted to stay in the encampment but were forced to seek alternatives.

"The city's lack of urgency in creating safe, accessible, quality housing creates real life-or-death urgency for unhoused community members," said Brian Pitman, a volunteer organizer with the group.

The group called for the city to make sure warming centers are "open and accessible" and ensure landlords accept housing vouchers.

In an email, Bangor City Council Chair Rick Fournier said that he wasn't prepared to comment, and the council is waiting for the completion of an investigation into the fire.