WARNING: STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGE
A Richmond mother is asking the public to be more careful of discarding hot BBQ charcoals on beaches after her three-year-old son’s feet suffered second degree burns late last month at Centennial Beach in Delta.
“People [need to] use more common sense when outdoors. It’s fire season, bbq season, I get it, but there are rules and you need to be aware. You need to dispose; put out a fire if you create the fire,” said Frederica Carcani.
Although her warning comes after Metro Vancouver and the City of Richmond announced, last week, that all outdoor barbecuing is now banned until further notice.
As a result of dry conditions, Richmond Nature Park’s trails are remaining closed and a “complete BBQ and open fire ban is now currently in place at all parks, including the designated BBQ areas at Gary Point Park and King George Park,” noted a city statement.
Carcani and son Bruce had gone to Centennial Beach July 22 for dinner with friends. Bruce had been playing in the sand nearby and stepped on discarded coals, resulting in three weeks of visits to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver to heal his blackened, peeling feet.
“I was sitting and talking to my friend and he came from behind and he was crying but very quietly, saying, ‘Mommy I really hurt; there’s something on my feet,’” said Carcani.
“I started looking around. Saw a BBQ and I noticed a pile of ashes looking like sand. When I touched, it was warm and then I put my hand underneath and it was steaming hot …They just dumped the ashes outside the BBQ. They didn’t even try to dig it,” she explained.
There remains contention as to whether park staff properly locked the outdoor fire pits. Carcani says the BBQs were unlocked, whereas Metro Vancouver staff, who manage the regional park, claim the pits were covered and locked.
“When this incident happened, the fire pits were closed on July 20, but that doesn’t mean that barbecues and hibachis with briquettes were still permissible in designated areas within the park,” explained Sarah Lusk – Metro Vancouver communications spokesperson.
Following the incident Lusk said Metro Vancouver will be erecting more signs to educate the public about how people should dispose of the coals.
“We don’t want to have another unfortunate incident like this again,” said Lusk.
“People need to be smarter at this time of year in how they dispose of coals. With the fire bans in place and people’s safety, people just need to be smarter. We hope for a speedy recovery for the young man who was injured. The family is welcome to reach out to us if they wish,” added Lusk.