Pitt Meadows man injured by ‘bear banger’

Suffers burns to hands and face in mishap with fireworks, may require surgery

Corporal Alanna Dunlop with some of the fireworks that were seized by the RCMP Halloween night.

A 65-year-old man in Pitt Meadows seriously burned his hand while setting off an explosive on Halloween.

The injury was one of two calls for the city’s fire department on Monday that involved fireworks, although RCMP responded to dozens of other incidents involving bottle rockets and fire crackers, despite a ban in the municipality.

Police were called to a home on Cusick Crescent in Pitt Meadows around 10:30 p.m.

The senior injured his hand around 10 p.m. by setting off a bear banger – an explosive that can travel more than 125 feet – in the Somerset neighbourhood.

He didn’t loose any fingers, but assistant fire chief Rob Chatton said the man, who was taken to Ridge Meadows Hospital, will require surgery and suffered significant burns, including some to his face.

At 11 p.m., the fire department rushed to a car fire in the 11800-block of Bonson Road that started after two in a group of about six teenagers dropped a lit fireworks onto the passenger seat of a car, a Dodge Neon.

A neighbour noticed the fire and doused most of the flames using a fire extinguisher.

“It’s a mindless prank that has a lot of repercussion,” said Chatton.

“Now somebody’s vehicle has been damaged and it put residents in the area in danger.”

A police dog was brought out to sniff down the group of teens, and police arrested a 17-year-old boy.

Since 2005, the sale, purchase and lighting of fireworks in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows has been restricted to individuals who hold a certificate from Natural Resources Canada’s Explosives Regulatory Division. The course costs $100.

The fireworks bylaw allows RCMP, bylaws officials and firefighters to ticket offenders with fines of $1,000 for selling fireworks and $200 for setting them off without a permit.

Ridge Meadows RCMP added 13 auxiliary cops, six volunteers on bicycle patrol, and four bylaw enforcement officers to boost the complement of 15 police officers on watch, which included the street enforcement unit, members of which drove around Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge in unmarked cars, seizing fireworks.

Police attended to a total of 53 calls Monday night. No fireworks related fires or injuries were reported in Maple Ridge.

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