Jan 17, 2012 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
Occupy Syracuse demonstrators have been evicted from their Salina Street camp after being found with propane tanks and other cooking equipment deemed unsafe, Syracuse Fire Chief Mark McLees said.
The demonstrators have been at the grounds at Perserverance Park for 108 days, but Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and McLees delivered the eviction notice Tuesday morning.
“The mayor, with police officers, came this morning and she said we have 24 hours and then they are going to seize the site back,” said Judy Blanco, of Syracuse.
Protesters say Miner advised them their property would be removed from the site tomorrow.
“Those of us who are able to be arrested are going to stay,” said Andy Dellicolli, of Syracuse. Some campers are on probation or have arrest warrants, and they will not be present, he added.
McLees said the the eviction isn’t politically-motivated.
“I know that they’re claiming we are trampling their rights,” McLees said. “I’m not worried about their rights, I’m worried about their safety. They have not demonstrated to me that they are able to keep themselves safe by their actions.”
Fire crews responded to the camp on Jan. 8 for a carbon monoxide complaint. Once officers responded, there was not a carbon monoxide problem. However, crews did see a 20 lb. propane tank, a heater and a stove. All of those items were banned from the site when the occupation began, McLees said.
“They were good, they didn’t try to hide it,” McLees said. “We told them it is illegal, it’s not safe, they have to remove it. It’s too much of a temptation to even have it there.”
Crews did spot-checks this past weekend and again observed illegal heating equipment. McLees alleges the campers were using the propane tanks and stoves as heaters in the tents.
This past weekend, fire crews removed a 20 pound propane tank, a 30,000 BTU heater, eight empty camp-stove sized propane tanks, two full tanks, a single-burner propane stove, Sterno cans and candles.
“They really weren’t getting the message,” McLees said. “Unfortunately what their definition of safe is and my defintion of safe are two different things.”
Open flame or heating equipment in the tents is not safe, he added.
“When one person wants to have creature comforts and have a little sterno in his nylon tent, he puts everybody else at risk,” McLees said. “If they’re not going to keep each other safe, I will.”
McLees urged Miner to evict the campers from the area.
Protesters say Miner originally came to the camp to support their movement, and they are shocked by today’s eviction.
“She has a history of breaking promises, so I guess it’s not really a surprise,” Dellicolli said.