Dumpster explosion in East Vancouver shattered windows Halloween night
'It made our windows shake and the car alarms in the alley go off.'
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East Vancouver residents had enough to be spooked about on Hallowe'en night — without having to contend with a garbage bin blast that reportedly shattered windows and knocked art off walls.
Shortly after midnight Tuesday night, East Vancouver resident Anna Soole was watching the new season of Netflix's sci-fi thriller show Stranger Things.
"Our entire apartment building was just shaken by an explosion," she posted on Facebook at 12:06 a.m. "It was so powerful that it blew out the first and second storey windows of the apartments closest to the explosion, and knocked all the paintings off their walls.
"Turns out someone put explosives in our dumpster … It made our windows shake and the car alarms in the alley go off."
Vancouver fire officials were not aware of the incident. In other parts of town — for instance Fairview — amateur fireworks lasted late into the night.
Several others in the area heard what one, Beth Cantor, described on Facebook as "a MASSIVE bang" near Commercial Drive. Another "heard and felt the same thing," Ray Croy wrote on the social media site. "It was totally unsettling."
Another person asked: "Anyone in Vancouver just hear that weird super loud bang like thunder?" Tuezdae Barrett wrote. "I see no fireworks and it sounded WAY too loud for that. Actually made me jump."
For Soole, the incident also happened to be terribly timed with a scary moment on TV.
"We were watching Stranger Things and were right at a climactic moment," she mused, "so I basically thought we were dying.
"The rather trivial, however real, terror I felt really brought home how unbelievably privileged we are not to live with deadly bombs and explosions being dropped on us day and night."
Fireworks have been banned anywhere in Surrey since 2005, and in Vancouver are only allowed on Oct. 31. According to Vancouver fire and police services, they "must only be set off on private property" with a permit. "Failing to comply with the rules can be dangerous and carry a $500 fine," VPD said in a statement Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a petition for Vancouver to follow Surrey and ban fireworks in the city reached nearly 2,000 signatures online. It argues Vancouver's restrictions "are not working."
"Every year, all residents are harassed for several weeks with random explosions at all times of day and night," the Change.org petition states, "resulting in interrupted sleep and upset and anxious animals and children …
"The solution to the danger and disruption from consumer fireworks is to ban the sale, possession, and use of fireworks in the City of Vancouver."
A counter-petition on the same website, however, argued that "fireworks should be available to the public" as "a time honoured tradition to mark days at times of celebration."
Instead, more should be done to crack down on their illegal sales and improper use.
"We would like to urge the city to seriously look into the illegal sales of fireworks and sales where those under age of 18," the petition, which had garnered roughly 100 signatures, stated. "We believe that these occurrences have lead to and continue to lead to improper handling which can result in anything from minor burns to death and/or destruction of property.