Sorting through a pile of fireworks seized from “seven or eight” teens in Ocean Park on Halloween night last week, Community Safety Officer Sue Caley and Const. Troy Derrick are “amazed” at what they find.
“These ones here will blow your hand right off,” Derrick says, holding up a firecracker no larger than a lipstick tube.
“I haven’t seen these in years.”
It looks innocent enough, Derrick notes of the incendiary – but it packs the same punch as a quarter stick of dynamite.
The stick – and even tinier versions of it – was among hundreds of fireworks big and small seized over “a couple hours” on Oct. 31.
Caley said the fireworks were all seized from 15- and 16-year-old boys, and she estimated the combined cache cost between $500 and $600.
As surprising as the quantity found on each individual was, Caley said she was even more surprised to discover that some of the teens had them with their parents’ consent.
Contacted by Caley, those parents “kind of played dumb,” she said, explaining they claimed no knowledge of the City of Surrey bylaw that basically bans fireworks without a permit and for anyone under the age of 18.
Through phone calls to all of the teens’ parents, Caley said, she is confident at least some of the teens learned a lesson.
“One parent did say when she picked up her son, he was crying,” she said.
Fortunately, while “thousands” of fireworks were seized by police throughout the city that night, no major injuries or incidents were reported.
Derrick and Cpl. Bert Paquet said inclement weather and a high tide helped stem trouble.
“For us, it was a perfect storm,” Paquet said.
Surrey firefighters also reported having a good night Oct. 31, crediting a lack of calls for service to the city’s bylaw. Before it was created, firefighters were inundated by calls for service every Halloween.
This year, crews didn’t attend any fireworks-related calls, according to deputy fire Chief Jon Caviglia.
“I think the regulating of fireworks in Surrey has proven to be very effective,” Caviglia said Thursday.
He’s aware people in Surrey just go to other municipalities to buy their fireworks.
“It’s on a much smaller scale,” Caviglia said. “They still do get them from other cities, and there are parents that allow their kids to have them, but it’s not rampant like it used to be.”
Fireworks seized in Surrey will be destroyed by Vancouver’s Explosives Disposal Unit.
– with files from Kevin Diakiw