Jack O'Lantern for Halloween
Rain throughout the afternoon and evening didn’t stop some Halloween hooligans from setting a number of structures ablaze and wreaking havoc across the province Wednesday night.
As of 11 p.m., RCMP had responded to 26 calls for service across the province since 7:30 p.m. These included four structural fires, as well as numerous other small blazes and general mischief with Souris being the most heavily affected area.
RCMP Sgt. Andrew Blackadar said the Kings County town saw complaints of egging start around 8 p.m. followed by a dumpster fire within the hour. Between 9:30 and 10 p.m., RCMP responded to a structural fire, a tire fire and waste bins on fire in the town.
Structure fires were also set in Glenwood, near O’Leary, with both O’Leary and West Point fire departments on the scene.
Around the same time, firefighters from Tignish were battling a blaze at an abandoned house in nearby Harper.
The Harper blaze also saw the fire marshal attend to investigate, while Maritime Electric was also called because of the flames nearing power lines.
An abandoned barn was also torched on MacNeill’s Mills Road near Ellerslie.
The night also saw a number of smaller fires reported in numerous communities, which included the patio of a government building in Alberton, bales of hay in Granville and Freetown, tires in Crapaud and a bench at the school in Tignish.
Other calls across the province included general mischief, such as mailboxes being smashed in Uigg, egg throwing in numerous communities and fireworks being set off in North Bedeque.
Police responded to a call regarding a group of at least 40 youth in the Town of Alberton parking lot egging cars and causing general damage.
RCMP also responded to three calls regarding impaired drivers.
One of them included a call regarding an impaired mother in Georgetown who allegedly had her children in the car to go trick or treating. RCMP located and towed the vehicle but were unable to locate the owner.
“Whether she had been drinking or was impaired, somebody was concerned enough to call us,” said Blackadar. “We ultimately found the vehicle, which had been left in someone else’s driveway.”
The other impaired drivers were located in Murray Harbour at 6:15 p.m. and in Cornwall shortly after 8 p.m.
As of 11 p.m., the night had been a bit quieter in Charlottetown.
Charlottetown Police Services kept busy throughout the night patrolling both the inner and outer areas of the city.
Sgt. Tom Clow said police had a presence in every sector of the city, with vehicles overlapping and extra bodies in East Royalty, West Royalty, Winsloe, Sherwood, Parkdale, Hillsborough Village, Brighton, the downtown core and other areas.
“We have a K-9 unit in and a street crime unit in,” added Clow. “So we’re fully staffed.”
As of late evening, Clow said the evening had been reasonable, with most calls being the usual incidents of egg throwing and fireworks.
“We’ve had a couple incidents of paintballs. We’ve also had a couple incidents of broken windows,” said Clow. “They are isolated incidents. So far, (there’s been) very few.”
Police also were conducting extra patrol checks on city schools, areas with seniors housing as well as the mosque.
Police were also covering Brown’s Court, with an estimated 1,200 students on the other side of University Avenue for a Halloween party at UPEI.
Calls received by police and fire departments throughout early Thursday morning will determine whether or not this year’s Halloween will continue a trend of quieter celebrations which the province saw last year.
The holiday in 2011 had been the quietest for RCMP in three years, with the provincial police force having responded to a total of 53 calls between Halloween evening and the next morning.
RCMP fielded 141 calls in 2010, and 133 calls in 2009.
Last year, fire departments across the province responded to a total of 30 fires. While many were smaller blazes involving garbage and brush, eight were structure fires. Halloween in 2010 saw 42 arson reports across the province, compared to 35 in 2009 and 43 in 2008.