British Columbia

Fireworks to blame for Halloween blazes, injuries: fire officials

Fire officials in both Vancouver and Surrey, B.C., are blaming fireworks for widespread reports of fire damage and injuries over the course of Halloween celebrations last Thursday night.

Some Surrey residents still out of homes; roof of Vancouver house destroyed

Vancouver fire officials believe the fire that destroyed the roof of a house at Athlone Street and West 43rd was caused by fireworks. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Fire officials in both Vancouver and Surrey, B.C., are blaming fireworks for widespread reports of fire damage and injuries over the course of Halloween celebrations last Thursday night.

Those incidents include a blaze that destroyed the roof of a Vancouver house, and the partial evacuation of a Surrey apartment block, to which residents of six suites have still been unable to return.

Surrey officials say crews were called to put out a fire on a third-floor balcony of the older apartment building in the Guildford area at 11:18 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Residents of at least 11 suites in the building on 150 Street near 105 Avenue were forced from their homes that night. Six suites remain uninhabitable, according to Assistant Fire Chief Jason Cairney.

"I'm not aware of each family's individual circumstances, but they are being looked after and [agencies are] looking to find a place for them to go," he said.

Vancouver crews attended more than 20 calls for fireworks-related incidents on Halloween night. (CBC)

Cairney said there were no serious injuries directly related to the fire, but their investigation of the ignition source and witness statements has led them to one clear cause.

"There was a lot of fireworks in and around the area," he said. "And there was one person who indicated that one landed on their balcony. Not the fire balcony, but another balcony."

In Vancouver, fire crews were kept busy by more than 20 calls for fireworks-related incidents.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Jonathan Gormick said at least one those calls was for a fireworks-related house fire on Athlone Street and West 43rd Avenue.

It was a "significant fire," Gormick said. "The house lost its entire roof."

A fire on the 16th floor of a West End high rise earlier Oct. 31 was accidental in nature and related to electrical issues, Gormick said. 

Other calls involved physical injuries related to fireworks use, he said.

"A fairly significant facial injury, and fairly significant hand injuries. Sort of all the reasons that council voted for a ban," he said, referring to Tuesday night's decision by councillors to ban the sale and use of consumer fireworks in the city starting in 2021.

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