The aftermath of fireworks, Fernwood resident David Boudinot found this burned-out garbage can full of firework remnants early on the morning after Halloween. (David Boudinot Photo)

The aftermath of fireworks, Fernwood resident David Boudinot found this burned-out garbage can full of firework remnants early on the morning after Halloween. (David Boudinot Photo)

Spike in Greater Victoria fireworks a response to COVID, says fire chief

ROAM reunited 11 dogs over Halloween

From Saanich to the West Shore, the number of fireworks being set off were above normal on Halloween night.

Complaints varied. Fireworks rained down across pockets of the City of Victoria despite the fact fireworks are banned and there are no special permits.

It was relatively quiet in Oak Bay, though social media was alive with reports of fireworks in neighbouring pockets of Victoria – South Jubilee, North Park, Fernwood, and James Bay.

Katie Fillion of the North Park Neighbourhood Association lives near Royal Athletic Park where fireworks cracked “late into the night.” Same for David Boudinot, who witnessed ongoing fireworks at or near George Jay elementary. In the morning, Boudinot came across a burned-out garbage can riddled with remnants of fireworks at the Fernwood Community Centre.

Despite that, Bill Eisenhauer, head of City of Victoria’s engagement department, said there were few if any complaints to the city.

READ ALSO: Late-night fire tears through Victoria hotel

In Colwood and Saanich it was a different story.

“For a lot of people, I think the fireworks this year was a way to relieve the stress of COVID,” said Colwood Fire Chief John Cassidy. “There were a fair number in Colwood and within earshot [of the station].”

Colwood had 30 people participate in the fireworks safety course and awarded 23 permits which is more than double the normal amount of about eight to 10, Cassidy said. The only call they responded to on Halloween was a smoldering dumpster fire.

The fire chief couldn’t say with certainty that he heard fireworks beyond the 23 permits but guessed that was likely the case. It was a throwback to the years previous to 2006 when his fire department partnered with the Colwood and the West Shore RCMP to change the bylaw.

“It was pretty rowdy back then,” Cassidy said. “[This year] we expected that a lot of people using fireworks as stress belief because of COVID. We anticipated fireworks as part of some [informal] block parties, people staying within their bubbles, and we had a fair number of that.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay Police welcome former firefighter as new officer

Parts of Saanich were alight with fireworks, many of them legal, as the district awarded 91 fireworks permits. It also awarded 80 bonfire permits.

Saanich police spokesperson Sgt. Markus Anastasiades said they received a higher than normal call volume on Halloween regarding fireworks. That included two dangerous incidents, one in which someone from a group of youths at the University of Victoria directed and discharged a firework at approaching Saanich police officers. The other was the arrest of an 18-year-old man who is facing charges of assault with a weapon, causing bodily harm and obstructing police, after a woman was severely burned on her legs.

Perhaps overlooked by non-pet owners was the effect of the fireworks on dogs and cats. The fact Halloween fell on a Saturday, and that municipalities had to cancel their traditional events, led to private gatherings, said Leslie Steeves of local Facebook group ROAM, that re-unites lost pets with owners.

“The problem was people didn’t know who and when neighbours were going to set off fireworks, and didn’t know when to put the pets inside,” Steeves said.

ROAM reunited 11 dogs between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 and are happy to report that none were still missing from Halloween, though signs remained up on Nov. 6 that Gary the cat is still missing from North Park.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

Millstream Village is welcoming a new Marshalls location March 9. (Photo courtesy GWL Realty Advisors)
New Marshalls store in Langford brings boost to women in need

Retailer will hold opening ceremony in Millstream Village March 9

Abstract Developments is donating $75,000 to support community programming at The Cridge Centre for the Family. (Courtesy of The Cridge Centre)
Victoria developer builds support for community programs

Abstract Developments donates $75,000 to The Cridge Centre for the Family

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read