Fireworks lit up both sides of Chilliwack this year in a cacophony of fire, which led to many more complaints than usual on Halloween night.
“There were lots of calls for service this year,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Mike Rail of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment.
Exploding fireworks within Chilliwack city limits was made illegal in 2006.
RCMP planned ahead for the deployment of extra officers, and resourced it for the expected increase in calls, Rail noted, and there were a total of 98 calls for service in Chilliwack.
“That is comparable to what we’d see on a busy summer night, so it was definitely busier than normal,” Rail said.
Many took to social media to complain about deafening fireworks scaring pets including dogs, cats, horses and even livestock spooked by the loud booms.
Gary Palaniuk of Chilliwack asked people on Facebook how the fireworks were in their part of town, and his post on Living in Chilliwack yielded almost 300 responses.
“We’ve seen and heard more tonight than in the last 10 years combined in our neighbourhood,” he said in his Halloween night post about the south side of town. Several posters agreed it was much more than they had ever seen before.
There were about 50 calls to RCMP just for illegal fireworks being set off, and of those about 20 came from the Twin Rinks and Garrison Crossing neighbourhoods, as well as several on the north side.
The fireworks calls ranged from noise complaints about backyard groups with elaborate displays, to kids on the street.
The high call volume from Chilliwack parks and public spaces echoes what other B.C. municipalities saw on Halloween night, including 900 calls for service in Surrey.
“No one was injured, and that is on the plus side,” Rail added.
In most cases when RCMP got calls about people lighting up fireworks or firecrackers, they were gone by the time officers arrived to investigate. But there were some seizures of incendiary devices, like fireworks.
“There was a lot of that, and officers actively enforced the related bylaws, so it was a particularly busy night,” he said. “And from the sheer volume of the fireworks being set off, to the potential safety issues, were good reasons for the focus on enforcement.”
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