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Suspicious fire raises concerns over possible homeless camp near neighborhood

Posted at 10:42 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 22:43:50-05

A suspicious fire in a wooded area of a North Fort Myers neighborhood has residents concerned it may be linked to a make-shift homeless camp.

"Every step you take out here there are beer cans or whiskey bottles," said Tammy Nemec, who called 9-1-1 when the fire broke out. For over a year, Nemec has been raising concerns over a possible homeless camp to the Lee County Sheriff's Office (LCSO).  

Back in December, Four In Your Corner investigated the issue and the LCSO agreed to clear the camp out after getting the permission of the property owners. 

However, Nemec believes people have returned to the wooded area after flames spread through a portion of the woods behind her home along Powell Creek Circle and Whidden Road.

"Somebody was back here doing something they should not have been doing," said Nemec.

A North Fort Myers Fire Rescue investigator told Four In Your Corner the cause the blaze was still under investigation Friday, and added it appeared to be of an "incendiary nature."

The wooded area was littered with beer, soda and tires, some of which were torched in the blaze.

Several yards from the area of the fire our camera's captured images of a mattress and other personal belongings.

"You lay in bed and every sound you hear has you on edge because you don't know how close it is to the house," said Nemec. 

After multiple phone calls, Four In Your Corner was unable to reach the property owners whose voicemail was full. Residents are now hoping the recent fire will encourage the property owners to do more to prevent vagrancy in the area. 

"Somebody somewhere has to stand up and say okay, i'm responsible, lets clean this place up back here and lets make it hard to get in there, said Nemec.