'Suddenly just explosions': Man arrested for setting off fireworks on Waterloo road
A 20-year-old man is facing multiple charges after setting off fireworks on a Waterloo road early Saturday morning.
Waterloo regional police said an officer was in the area of King Street North and Spring Street around 12:30 a.m. when they saw the man.
"He was holding the fireworks in his hand and then projecting them at businesses and pedestrians, so it could have been very dangerous for everyone involved," Const. Melissa Quarrie, with the Waterloo Regional Police Service, said.
She added that at least one of the fireworks also hit a police cruiser.
The man has been charged with mischief under $5,000, common nuisance – endangering life, criminal negligence and breach of duty related to explosives.
"We do often see over long weekends that we have an increase in bylaw calls pertaining to noise complaints as well as firework complaints, but it’s not very common that we see fireworks directed at people," said Const. Quarrie.
James Macdonald, a bartender at Ethel’s Lounge, said he was working on Friday night when he saw multiple fireworks going off in the street just after midnight.
"We saw a big group move across King [Street] and then suddenly just explosions," McDonald told CTV News.
He was worried for the safety of the patio customers, as multiple fireworks were launched from the street.
"They’re flying across, over our building, and it was just a little too much," said McDonald. "Obviously they were having fun, but there’s other places to do that where you’re not necessarily going to be risking people's safety."
According to the City of Waterloo, fireworks are only permitted on private property from dusk until 11:00 p.m. during specific holidays. Those include Victoria Day, Canada Day, New Year's Eve and Diwali, and the days immediately preceding and following the holiday.
"They have to be set off in a safe manner," said Nicole Papka, the director of municipal enforcement services for the City of Waterloo. "You’re not permitted to do it on a roadway or on public property either."
According to Papka, there is a permission process that has to be followed if firework displays will be held on public property.
"Fireworks have been incredibly divisive in the community, I think they’re very disturbing to a lot of people and pets. So we’re trying to kind of keep that enjoyment and balance," Papka said.
FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS
The Government of Canada has listed important safety tips on its website for the use of fireworks:
- Place fireworks that do not have a base into the earth or sand (unless the label indicates otherwise)
- Place fireworks at a 10-degree angle, pointing away from people
- Wait 30 minutes before approaching any firework that fails to go off
- Never try to relight or fix a firework that that does not go off
- Pick a place outside to set them off that is clear of obstacles
- Never light or hold a firework in your hand (unless the label says they've been designed to be hand-held)
- Keep fireworks in a cool, dry and ventilated place
- Keep fireworks away from the reach of children
- Read the instructions on the fireworks before using them
- Keep water nearby to place the used fireworks and then wait 30 minutes before disposing them into the garbage
- Children under the age of 18 should not use fireworks unless supervised by an adult
- Safety glasses are recommended
- Always light the fuse at its tip
- Do not use fireworks during windy conditions
The City of Kitchener also asks residents not to set off fireworks on streets, highways, forests, public trails, or ballparks. They can be done in city parks as long as the organizers have a permit.
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