|Photo by Sherry Rubel|
A fire destroyed an empty tent in Tent City in Lakewood yesterday, as advocates held a protest across Cedar Bridge Avenue in the township public housing complex.
Steven Brigham, 23, son of the Tent City’s founder, the Rev. Steven A. Brigham, saw gray smoke rising from the fringes of the camp about 6:15 p.m. and went to investigate, encountering flames engulfing the tent, he said.
Photo by Sherry Rubel
A 12-foot-high wood frame with a tarp thrown over the top provided shelter for the tent underneath, he said.
“There was a little scare because there were sheets piled up in the center of the tent,” he said. He yelled, but there were no signs anyone was there, he said.
A Lakewood firefighter who arrived quickly doused the flames with a fire extinguisher and found no one inside, he said.
The fire is under investigation, but the elder Brigham views it as part of a larger pattern of harassment of the camp.
“There's no good reason for anybody to have a fire today on a 95-degree day, you want to stay cool, you don't want a fire,” the Rev. Brigham said. “So it's a little suspicious that this fire happened at the exact same time we're going across the street to hold a rally.”