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VIDEO: Langley school damaged by fireworks

Beginning the New Year with a blast, and not in a good way

In the 10 years he’s lived near Langley’s Glenwood Elementary school, David Loiselle has come to expect the popping sounds of fireworks being set off at New Year’s.

“It always seems it’s by the school,” Loiselle commented.

Early on Monday, Jan. 1, it was different, with a loud explosion just after midnight that rocked the neighbourhood and damaged the school at 208th Street and 24th Avenue, breaking two windows and blowing out a third, while scorching concrete parking barriers, bending a parking sign out of shape, and scattering debris.

Loiselle had turned in for the night when the blast went off, around 12:20 a.m..

“It was such a loud explosion, I thought there had to be something blowing up,” Loiselle told the Langley Advance Times.

“I thought [it might be] a propane tank or something. So the next day, my wife and I walked down because we knew it was towards the school.”

Loiselle saw hundreds of small red plastic pieces scattered about the parking lot.

“Very small pieces,” he noted.

“So whatever it was, it exploded in such a rate, and it expanded so quickly, it just blew everything into little pieces.”

Social media comments reported the impact of the blast was felt as far away as 200th Street and 36th Avenue.

Other witnesses, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the twisted sign was undamaged the day before the blast, and pointed out the explosion was about 30 feet away from exposed gas lines that run along the exterior where the windows were damaged.

Remnants of detonated fireworks were located at the scene, they said, including what appeared to be Roman candles, which pack multiple fireworks into cardboard tubes.

A Langley School District statement said there was “a report from its security system early morning on Jan. 1,” that alerted them to the incident, and confirmed three windows at the front of the school were broken.

“Police have been notified of the incident,” the statement said.

By Wednesday Jan. 3, all the windows had been repaired.

Langley RCMP Cpl. Craig van Herk confirmed a police file has been opened.

“A neighbour reported it just after midnight,” van Herk said.

“Officers found remnants from fireworks in the area around the broken windows at the school.”

No injuries have been reported.

Glenwood, founded in 1916, has just under 200 K-7 students, with nine divisions in the main building and two in a pair of portable classrooms.

Overall, New Year’s did not see an unusual amount of fireworks activity, according to Langley RCMP and Township fire department.

Deputy Fire Chief Russ Jenkins said they did not have any calls related to noise or fireworks on New Year’s Day this year, describing it as “a relatively quiet day.”

READ ALSO: Stricter enforcement planned for illicit fireworks in Langley Township

READ MORE: Increase in illegal fireworks gets attention from Langley Township council

While it is technically legal to sell fireworks in Langley Township, it’s rare for any merchants to actually set up shop.

Selling fireworks requires a valid Fireworks Supervisor’s Certificate, issued by Natural Resources Canada, a Township business license, and a $1,500 permit fee.

And putting on a fireworks display, in addition to the Fireworks Supervisor’s Certificate, there must be a site plan, approval from the property owner, at least $5 million in liability insurance, and a permit fee of $100.

Langley City has similar regulations for fireworks displays, and outright bans the sale of fireworks within municipal limits.

Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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