SYRACUSE 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.