The man reported as injured in a tent fire this afternoon at "The Jungle" was transported to a regional burn center in critical condition after initial treatment at Cayuga Medical Center, according to the Ithaca Police Department. The 53-year-old suffered serious burns on his upper body.
A fire at "The Jungle" injured a 53-year-old man on Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of IFD.Ithaca firefighters responded to a 911 call that a tent at the Jungle was on fire, and located a resident who had suffered burns. The victim was being aided by an employee of Cayuga Lumber who had seen the fire and went to investigate. The Cayuga Lumber employee helped extinguish the flames on the victim's clothing with snow until emergency responders arrived.
The Jungle is an ad hoc homeless community in the largely industrial area between Wegmans and Route 79 where it passes over the Cayuga Lake Inlet. The small tent city in Ithaca's West End is occupied year-round by several dozen residents who prefer to remain there even when offered other options, and has existed for around sixty years. Residents often use portable, gas-powered heaters in their tents during cold weather.
Authorities are not identifying the burn victim while an investigation into the cause of the fire continues.