November 17, 2015 7:46 pm
Updated: November 17, 2015 8:53 pm

Brampton councillor pushes for fireworks ban in residential neighbourhoods after fire

WATCH ABOVE: Two homes have been destroyed and the number of complaints over fireworks has tripled. As Angie Seth reports, one Brampton councillor is looking to ban fireworks from residential neighborhoods.

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TORONTO — A Brampton city councillor wants to ban fireworks in residential neighbourhoods after a home was destroyed and another seriously damaged due to the improper disposal of fireworks.

The move comes after several homes in a Brampton neighbourhood had to be evacuated following a large fire Wednesday night.

Fire crews responded to the call around 10:45 p.m. to find a home on Binder Twine Trail completed engulfed in flames.

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READ MORE: Brampton home destroyed by fire overnight

Transit buses were called in to shelter nearby residents as an evacuation order was issued. No injuries were reported.

Police have now confirmed the cause was the improper use of fireworks. No charges have been laid, but the damage is extensive.

“We know that fireworks were being set off just in front of that residence prior to the fire being started,” Const. George Tudos said Thursday.

For the past 10 years Brampton has been dealing with an ever-growing safety concern about fireworks.

In order to try and reduce the hazards, the City altered the bylaws.

In 2006 the city limited the use of fireworks to four specific holidays: Canada Day, Victoria Day, New Years, and Diwali.

In 2011, the bylaw was amended to require anyone using fireworks apply for a permit, which requires a house to be a minimum of 60 feet wide in order for someone to safely use small residential fireworks.

But Councillor Grant Gibson says the changes are not working and the fireworks are getting bigger and louder.

Since 2011, the number of complaints related to the use of fireworks in the city had tripled.

Calls to 311 in 2014:

  • Victoria Day 121 complaints, up from 17 in 2011
  • Canada Day 206 complaints, up from 34 in 2011
  • Diwali 510 complaints, up from 181 in 2011

Gibson says he wants to ban fireworks in residential neighbourhoods altogether.

“It’s really to stop fireworks within the residential areas but to find areas where we can allow them,” he said.

“If a large company in Brampton wants to set off fireworks in their property in an industrial commercial area for the residents of Brampton or for their employees with a permit, if a faith community wanted to do it I cannot see why we wouldn’t allow that to happen — the key to this is to make sure the people that are putting them off are trained, know what they are doing, it’s safe.”

But implementing the ban may be quite difficult according to Chief Michael Clark of Brampton Fire and Emergency Services.

“It’s always a challenge, even if there would be a ban, how it would be enforced,” he said, adding that the city typically issues less than 100 permits per year. “And yet we have a lot more use in that so the challenge really will be the enforcement of that.”

Clark says the best rule of thumb with fireworks is that unless you know how to use them safely; don’t.

“Fireworks are inherently dangerous and we much prefer they would just leave them to the professionals,” he said.

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