Toronto police say they have arrested a 14-year-old girl who allegedly set off a firework on a packed TTC bus in Scarborough during Tuesday (May 30) rush hour.
The girl, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has been charged with mischief and endangering life. She will appear in a Toronto courtroom on Friday, July 14.
The Toronto Transit Commission says this incident is one of seven in nine days involving reckless fireworks on their vehicles. However, it's unclear if any of the cases are connected.
"Reminder: these are illegal acts, and we have video. All will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," the TTC tweeted on Wednesday.
In a 22-second video of the incident posted to Twitter, a teen smiles as she lights a large firework in the middle of the bus. She points to the firework at the back of the bus as riders crouch, covering their heads and screaming.
"It's not popping, it's not popping," someone shouts before the fireworks go off. "You're an idiot," someone else says.
In a news release on Wednesday, police said the bus was travelling northbound between Kingston Road and Guildwood Parkway. The bus was at "full capacity," police added.
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, representing TTC workers, said the incident happened on the 116 Morningside bus route.
Police are also investigating two similar incidents in Scarborough involving firecrackers on TTC property. In one case, a firecracker was thrown into a bus shelter on May 24. Then, she said that on May 25, a firework was fired on a bus.
No injuries have been reported, they said.
TTC calls the incident 'irresponsible' and 'illegal.'
Stuart Green, spokesperson for the TTC, said the incidents were of grave concern.
"It's reckless, irresponsible, and illegal. And that's why we take these things so seriously," Green said.
"These are not things to play with. We, of course, need to understand why someone wants to do this. It could have ended very differently. We're fortunate that it didn't."
Green said similar incidents have happened before across the city around statutory holidays.
Marvin Alfred, president of ATU Local 113, said the act was "extremely irresponsible," mainly because the firework was set off in an enclosed space and put innocent people at risk.
He said that such incidents shake confidence in the public transit system and add to the perception that there is a "lack of order" on the TTC. He said the bus operator, who was traumatized, is currently off work.
"If you're doing this to get notoriety online, I'm concerned about what it would take the next time to get even more notoriety and how you'll affect others recklessly in the future," Alfred said.
"Everyone in that vehicle is lucky to have avoided serious harm."
Act 'hazardous,' fireworks expert says
Brandon Walters, operations manager at AirMagic Special Effects in Toronto, said it's critical to follow safety protocols on the packaging because fireworks can cause severe burns.
"They could risk other dismemberment and severe injuries due to the size and volume of the effect produced by a single shell," he said
The firework used in the incident appears to be a Vulcan Fireworks brand product with a blue ring and white strobe pistil. It is advertised as shooting from a height of 25 meters. It's meant to be set in an open area with no overhead obstructions, Walters said.
"It was perilous, and all those people were in a dreadful state on that bus."
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in