Ithaca Police confirmed Thursday evening that a man severely burned in the homeless encampment known as the Jungle has died from his injuries.
Police have identified the victim as 53-year-old Richard Sherman. He died Thursday afternoon at a regional hospital.
Police say Sherman suffered severe burns to his upper body Wednesday afternoon after a fire started around 3 p.m. A worker at the nearby Cayuga Lumber store used snow to put the fire out on the man’s body as rescue crews arrived.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick says he was deeply saddened by the news.
“It is my hope that this will serve as a clarion call to our community,” said Myrick. “It’s time that we work with human service agencies, the community of faith, and private individuals to clear the Jungle and keep it clear. We cannot service those who live there with addiction services, mental health services, or police and fire protection. I will do everything in my power to steer any current inhabitants to healthier, existing alternatives”.
Police say they are continuing their investigation, but say they do not suspect foul play.