Videos, purportedly from Saturday night’s show at the track in Black Creek show a fire and fireworks display that could be in contravention of the current fire ban. Dean Stoltz reports.
Saratoga Speedway has been thrilling race fans in the Comox Valley for 37 years but according to the local fire chief things may have been too hot Saturday night considering the current fire ban.
“I’m concerned that there was stuff going on contrary to the fire ban that’s going on especially the way all the resources are being tapped to deal with what’s happening in the province.” said Oyster River Fire Chief Bruce Green.
Videos of the event taken by people in the audience were sent to the Oyster River Fire Department, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and CHEK News.
They appear to show a mechanical dragon breathing out fire setting a car ablaze as well as setting off fireworks.
Another video shows trailers being towed around a track sending off a trail of sparks.
“By the way folks, this is why we’re doing crash to pass trailer races tonight because there’s a fire ban on” the track announcer can be heard telling the audience. “So we have our own special fire show for you tonight. Controlled of course and some fireworks for you too.”
“I had concerns, there are trees and dry grass around everywhere so it wouldn’t take much” added Green. “A small spark could create a fire and if winds picked up it could spread rapidly as we witnessed in Comox on Saturday.”
On Saturday, fire departments from as far away as Campbell River raced to the scene of a wildfire in Comox whipped up by strong winds. It took several hours to bring the fire under control and it put at least one home in jeopardy.
“On the Island, people don’t think it’s a concern but we do have dry fuels and with one spark and an ember and wind, because we get lots of wind coming off the water on a daily basis.” said Green.
However, the owner of Saratoga Speedway says he was being careful, has a clean track record and stopped the fireworks as soon as he saw them.
“The fireworks were indoor fireworks, not outdoor firework,s” said Paul Hargraves. “That was not part of our show. I was unaware of it and the moment I was aware of it was the moment it was shut down.”
When asked if he felt at any time there was any risk being taken he replied: “Absolutely not, we would not do that. What we do is responsible.”
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