Abbotsford man unhappy after dispatcher suggests neighbours celebrating ‘safely’ with fireworks

The use of fireworks has been banned in Abbotsford for more than a decade

An Abbotsford man is questioning the enforcement of the city’s fireworks ban he complained about a neighbour’s roman candles landing in his yard only to be told that his neighbours were celebrating “safely.”

Alex Green said he called police Wednesday night after debris from roman candles set off next door landed in his back yard. He said he was particularly concerned because several homes in the area have cedar shakes on their roofs.

Green said he called the non-emergency police line, only to be told to call 911 if he was worried about public safety. When he did so, he was told that his complaints shouldn’t be handled by 911. Green ended up texting the APD with his complaint, but when he followed up later to ask about the chance that an officer would attend, he was told: “It looks like police have already attended and they advised that it is numerous families in the area celebrating Diwali safely.”

Green said he was surprised by the suggestion that the celebrations were occurring “safely,” noting that fireworks are banned in the city.

“I thought fireworks are a big deal,” he said. “Either dump [the bylaw] in the garbage can, or enforce it.”

Green said he was later contacted by an officer who told him that the APD only had 11 officers on shift.

Abbotsford Police Sgt. Judy Bird told The News that complaints about fireworks are taken seriously, although all calls are handled on a priority basis, with bylaw complaints sometimes taking a backseat to those involving crimes.

But Bird said Green shouldn’t be left thinking police excuse the lighting of fireworks if done “safely.”

She noted that when people call 911 or text the APD, they end up communicating with a dispatcher working out of Vancouver and handling calls for dozens of communities with different fireworks rules and policies. She said anyone displeased with the response from dispatchers should call the APD’s non-emergency line and ask to speak to a supervisor at the APD.

Bird said residents are encouraged to call in with fireworks complaints, and promised that police will eventually attend to every call.

The use of fireworks has been prohibited in Abbotsford since 2005. The ban was brought into effect not long after then-mayor Mary Reeves narrowly avoided injury from a thrown incendiary device during a ride-along with police.

The explosive activity on the city’s streets drew comparisons to some war zones, and, in 2003, fireworks were blamed for 39 fires. On another year, three youth were significantly injured by the devices.

In 2016, after a fireworks industry representative asked council to ease its ban, fire chief Don Beer said the number of injuries and fires had been significantly reduced. Council later declined to lift the fireworks ban.

RELATED: Two cars in Abbotsford destroyed by suspicious pre-Halloween fires

RELATED: Ease fireworks restrictions, Abbotsford council urged

Just Posted

VIDEO: ‘Spiderghini’ stopping in Abbotsford for Avengers: Endgame

Highstreet Shopping Centre displaying Spiderman-designed Lamborghini for movie premiere

COLUMN: Make positive change for marginalized groups, not despite them

Drug policies have a long history of at best ignoring and at worst targeting vulnerable communities

Abbotsford youth gang prevention program gets provincial funding

But just $1 million over three years is far below In It Together’s previous $1.6-million annual funds

Fraser Health reminds parents to get their kids fully vaccinated against measles

Health authority will send letters home to parents with catch-up program information

Province pledges $25 million to build new Eagle Mountain elementary school

New school for 460 students to be completed by fall of 2022, province says

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Olympic auditions return to Lower Mainland

Event an opportunity for unknown athletes to shine and, maybe, change sports

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. pedophile wins appeal after violating court order

Kelly Glen Isbister’s sentence was cut by the BC Court of Appeal

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Most Read