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Portland fire chief launches safety campaign for homeless

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Portland fire chief launches safety campaign for homeless

PORTLAND — After a fire in a makeshift camp killed a homeless man April 6, the Fire Department this week is beginning a fire safety campaign targeting homeless individuals.

Brian Barbour, 53, died after a candle he was using ignited his tent along West Commercial Street. The death was the second in the city caused by fire this year.

The PFD campaign, led by Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria, is giving homeless people battery-operated flameless "candles" and information cards with fire-safety tips. Printing of the cards was donated by Curry Printing, at 10 Free St.

"The homeless place themselves at great risk when using an open flame for heating and lighting," LaMoria said in a press release. "(The campaign) is a small but symbolic attempt to show the homeless in Portland that we care and want to provide real alternatives to an open flame in tents and makeshift shelters."