A thoughtless Halloween prank has darkened an otherwise happy holiday for a Saanich mom, her young daughter and two visiting friends.
At about 8 p.m. Saturday night Morgan Fankboner was alone in her living room, 20 metres from McKenzie Avenue in the CRD Swanlea housing across from St. Andrew’s high school, when she heard a curious scratching noise from outside the bathroom window.
A firework was then shot into the hallway from the open bathroom window, made a racket, scorched the carpet and darted erratically before it settled in the living room and set the carpet ablaze barely three feet from where she was sitting.
“I was shocked,” said the public health nurse with Island Health. “I nearly picked up the [live firework] at one point before my better judgment told me not to,” she said. “I thought I was going to die as it came flying towards me, thank God all the kids were upstairs.”
The fire was small, but the damage is much greater.
Not only are there two burn points in the carpet (which she assumes CRD housing will expect her to replace) and various scorch marks, but if the firework had been dropped into the window a few minutes earlier it could have landed among the trio of children. Her five-year-old daughter Larkin was watching a movie with a pair of visitors, aged six and three, right where the firework ended up burning the carpet.
“I heard it and I was scared,” said Larkin. “I didn’t know what it was.”
Fankboner suspects it was a local teenage prank. The bathroom window is visible from the sidewalk of McKenzie and it was Halloween.
But the evening didn’t end there. The firework filled the main floor of the house with smoke and Fankboner said it filtered upstairs where all of the children coughed, especially the visiting child who suffers from asthma.
“Three kids under the age of six … had they been downstairs, one of them could have been maimed,” Fankboner said.
Saanich Police responded and have the offending firework in their possession.
Sgt. Steve Eassie said there were less than 10 calls on fireworks during Halloween and many were done by permit.
“Fireworks are not designed to be set off indoors, anywhere, even in close proximity to a home is of concern. This kind of thing can cause traumatic events, it’s stupidity at its best,” said Eassie, adding there was not enough evidence to indicate it’s a targeted event.
“Obviously the person responsible for this is not following through on the fireworks safety course.”
Having Halloween fall on a Saturday met Eassie and Saanich Police expectations as it was definitely busier than a normal Saturday or weeknight Halloween, he said. Speeding, a motor vehicle incident, an overdose, 12:30 a.m. fireworks at Maplewood and Cedar Hill (outside of the permitted hours) and multiple loud parties were responsible for the majority of the calls.
Fankboner wants to remind locals that fireworks carry a serious potential for harm. If she wasn’t home, her house would have likely caught fire.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Saanich Police at 250-475-4321.