A homeless man tied up Manteca police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians as well PG&E crews on Monday afternoon for more than three hours.
He also cost the owner of the Sinclair gas station in the 1000 block of East Yosemite east of Powers Avenue more than three hours of business.
The man — who was trespassing — refused to come down from the roof of the convenience store.
While it might have been novel to onlookers snapping photos with smartphones behind police tape as well as those that had pulled out folding chairs to watch the situation unfold, it was old hat for first responders.
Such incidents happen throughout the year.
Retired police chief Charlie Halford who now serves as a councilman, noted homeless on roofs was an issue back in the 1970s when he first started with the department.
Assuming such calls don’t turn out to be individuals trying to break into stores as has happened in the past, there are a number of reasons why a homeless person — or anyone for that matter who is not authorized to be there — is a public safety and law enforcement concern.
Such concerns include:
*Individuals falling off of the roof whether they are sober, under the influence or have mental issues.
*Theft of electricity and other items on the roof.
*Property damage including urinating repeatedly on roofs.
*Illegal trespassing on private property.
Among past incidents include:
*When Kmart was located on West Yosemite Avenue, several homeless had taken up extended residence on the roof. They had tapped into power lines and had a small TV, space heater and other electric items as well as camping items and folding chairs.
*During one cold winter, the homeless repeatedly were sleeping on the roof of the library near heating system vents to stay warm. They caused damage primarily be repeatedly urinating on the roof.
*Copper and other recyclable items such as aluminum being stolen from rooftop air conditioning units and other mechanical devices.
Fire Chief Dave Marques said police have fire units respond for assistance.
Police officers do not have ladders in their vehicles. Firefighters assist with ladders and as needed.
The fire department two years ago started keeping track of calls that involved homeless individuals.
They run there gamut from rooftop issues, medical emergencies, overdoses, warming fires, and cooking fires to arsons and assaults.
Manteca Fire in 2021 responded to 878 calls involving homeless individuals out of the 10,230 they handled. That is roughly 9 percent of all calls.
Overall, based on the last official point in time count that placed Manteca’s homeless number at 129 — that means 0.15 percent of the population segment accounted for 9 percent of the fire department’s calls.
Figures are not yet available for 2022
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com