New Canadian Media

Brampton Mulls Curbs on Diwali Fireworks

Written by  NCM Mentoring Program Saturday, 05 December 2015 17:07
Three houses were severely damaged in Brampton and the fire department is investigating the handling of fireworks.
Three houses were severely damaged in Brampton and the fire department is investigating the handling of fireworks. Photo Credit: Surjit Singh Flora

by Surjit Singh Flora in Brampton, Ontario

A Brampton city councillor has persuaded colleagues on the city's community services committee to recommend a ban on the sale of fireworks — including storing them in homes — in the wake of a fire that engulfed a home during the Diwali celebrations last month.

On the evening of November 11th, two homes in Brampton were gutted by a fire that may have been sparked by Diwali firework celebrations, the South Asian festival of light.

According to Brampton fire officials, the blaze spread to two adjacent homes, forcing the evacuation of the adjoining residences. Damage from the fire is conservatively estimated to be $1 million according to the fire department.

The cause of the fire

Brampton Fire and Emergency Services (BFES) was called to scene on Binder Twine Trail, near Williams Parkway and Chinguacousy Road, just before 11 p.m. By the time they arrived, they found the house at 190 Binder Twine Trail fully enveloped in flames.

The fire apparently started in the garage and quickly spread throughout the house. It then also spread to the neighbouring home, 192 Binder Twine, which at the time was occupied by its residents.

All six members of the neighbouring Mangat family were forced to leave the house. The family of eight at 190 Binder Twine Trail also escaped unharmed. Out of the three homes that suffered damage, one is completely gutted and another is badly damaged.

The city received 281 complaint calls about Diwali fireworks in 2013 — up 86 per cent from 2012 — while it only received 46 on Canada Day.

Peel Police and the Brampton Fire Department say they are still trying to determine what caused the blaze, but indications are that it's connected to the "improper disposal of fireworks.”

The homeowner at 192 Binder Twine Trail, Inderjit Mangat, told fire and police officials that the neighbours discarded their used fireworks in a black garbage bag and stored them in the garage, which most likely sparked the blaze.

Celebrating safely

Brampton Mayor Linda Jeffrey said in a statement that the City of Brampton takes public safety and the safe use of fireworks in the city “very seriously.” 

She added that city staff continues to work closely with BFES to ensure that City of Brampton By-Laws, policies and enforcement keep residents safe while allowing them to “express their enjoyment on holidays and culturally significant events.”

One in three Brampton residents identify themselves as either Sikh or Hindu, according to the 2011 National Household Survey. As a result, celebrations during Diwali are quite extensive throughout the community.

The city received 281 complaint calls about Diwali fireworks in 2013 — up 86 per cent from 2012 — while it only received 46 on Canada Day.

While Brampton has previously allowed individuals who live on wide lots to set off personal fireworks, they introduced a new system in 2014 that requires individuals to apply for permits. In 2014, the city only gave out 88 permits despite receiving over 675 applications.

One in three Brampton residents identify themselves as either Sikh or Hindu.

According to Jeffrey, City Council will continue to discuss this issue with local authorities in an attempt to find a safe and fair way forward.

“Our Communications team is working closely with BFES and Enforcement to further emphasize to all Brampton residents the Fireworks By-Law, permit process as well as the potential dangers of fireworks use in a residential or park setting.

“I strongly urge all residents to make sure they fully understand all safety measures required to safely use fireworks and ask that all Brampton residents exercise extreme caution when using, storing or disposing of any fireworks,” she concluded.

Potential ban on fireworks

For one Brampton city councillor, education is simply not enough. Shortly after the fires, Councillor Grant Gibson proposed a citywide ban on fireworks at the community services committee.

Gibson said, citing the failure to educate individuals on the danger of fireworks, “This (Binder Twine Trail) is a perfect example of people being careless.”

“I don’t (want to be) the councillor that turned his back on safety,” he said. Gibson’s motion passed, and now the city must consider how to effectively ban the sale of fireworks along with their use on residential properties.

Staff has been directed to look at further methods of enforcement as well as what it would cost for the city to host their own fireworks displays. This would expand the current municipally-sponsored events from Canada Day and New Year’s Day to include Victoria Day and Diwali.

“Fireworks aren't like what they used to be. They are now basically explosives and there’s been a lot of mishandling of them across the city and that’s a major concern for our constituents,” said Gibson.


Journalist Jagdeesh Mann mentored the writer of this article, through the New Canadian Media mentorship program.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

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