1. ITV Report

'It was a lucky escape': Homeless man suffers burns after tent is set on fire in Cardiff

The man, who did not want to be identified, told ITV news he was asleep when the tent was set on fire Credit: ITV Wales

A homeless man who suffered burns after his tent was set on fire in the middle of Cardiff has told ITV News it was a "lucky escape".

The man, called David Foster, said he was asleep in his tent on Queen Street on Monday with his partner and his dog when his dog started barking alerting him to the fire.

David suffered burns to his hand Credit: ITV Wales

We smelt burning and some woman was shouting - the dog started barking.

I've looked at the tent door was on fire.

I've gone to put my hand on it which - stupid me - it fused to my hand.

It was a lucky escape.

– David Foster
Credit: ITV Wales

He taken to University Hospital of Wales with a minor hand injury after the incident.

South Wales Police said they are investigating and treating the incident as criminal damage.

Matt Downie from homelessness charity Crisis said a troubling number of violence against homeless people goes unreported.

For anyone sleeping on the street, life can be a struggle just to survive. Rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence and 15 times more likely to suffer abuse.

Perhaps equally troubling, our research shows 53% of abuse and violence against rough sleepers goes unreported to the police, mainly due to the expectation that nothing will be done.

With at least 9,000 people across Britain sleeping rough this winter, and thousands more hidden in cars, tents and on public transport, significant action can't come soon enough.

In the short term, it's vital that the victims of these disproportionately frequent attacks feel able to approach the authorities for support. But ultimately, they must also be given the dedicated help they need to leave the streets behind for good.

– Matt Downie, Crisis

Members of Cardiff Council homelessness outreach team accompanied the man to hospital for treatment. They urged homeless people to use shelter and hostel accommodation available in the city.

We're appealing to all those who sleep out at night to come into the wide range of accommodation in the city and begin using the services that can help move them away from life on the streets

– Cardiff Council spokesperson

Paramedic Rhys Tucker was the one who responded to the 999 call and pledged to help replace David's tent, clothes and others belongings that were damaged.

He'd lost his clothes, his tent, his sleeping bag was damaged and I took it upon myself then to seek the aid of my colleagues where we arranged a whip around.

I've been put in touch with a couple of charities and there's people going around helping out the homeless this Christmas so it's not just me, it's a lot of people who have been involved with this.

– Rhys Tucker, Paramedic

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