Homeless encampment fire damages storage facility in SLO

January 5, 2023


A fire that likely started at a homeless encampment burned part of a storage unit in San Luis Obispo Wednesday evening.

Shortly before 8 p.m., a caller reported a fire at Meathead Mini Storage located at 3600 S. Higuera Street. A sprinkler system kept the blaze in check before firefighters arrived, according to the San Luis Obispo Fire Department.

Firefighters contained the blaze to a single storage unit and then extinguished it. The storage unit fire was likely caused by a blaze at a homeless encampment located behind Meathead Mini Storage, fire officials say.

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Sometimes, homeless people live in these units. That may have been the case here.

These rains should hopefully be driving the homeless towards the shelters where they will hopefully stay realizing it’s a better option than the freezing cold streets! No drugs or alcohol allowed though; so, many will be back :/

The shelters around here aren’t open year-round for just anyone to walk-in and stay at. Places like Prado and Echo aren’t shelters like you see in the movies (or in metropolitan cities) where homeless people line up outside and get a bed for the night any day of the week.

During the cold/rainy season, there are temporary “warming shelters” opened up at places like Prado and/or different local churches. But once the temperature lifts, the warming shelters are closed. Often the warming shelter is only setup for a day or two at a time. So they’re back on the streets the next day whether they want to stay or not.

The established shelters here (ex. Echo) have an application process and only a small amount of rooms. Those who are accepted into the “residency program” are assigned a case manager and are actively supported in getting back on their feet (finding work, finding a job, etc). The local shelters are more for higher functioning people/families who are down on their luck.