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‘Suddenly, the sky just lit up’: Crash sets off fireworks explosion near Hope

A crash involving a truck that was carrying fireworks created quite the scene west of Hope Thursday night.

“It was almost like the fourth of July,” said Sgt. Mike Sargent with the Hope RCMP.

He says the crash happened on Highway 1 near Hunter Creek Road just before 10 p.m.

One person taken to hospital in crash that set off fireworks

Sargent says a pick up truck that was towing a trailer was parked on the side of the road when it was hit from behind by a semi.

“That collision caused the trailer that was being towed by the pick up truck — which happened to be full of fireworks — to ignite,” he explained.

“As a result of the fireworks going off and the fire, the pickup actually caught on fire as well and was completely burnt out. Thankfully, both drivers were able to exit their vehicles safely. One of the drivers was taken to the hospital for minor injuries but other than that, everyone’s okay.”

Emergency Health Services confirms to CityNews it received a call at 9:51 p.m. about a crash in the area, near Laidlaw. It says one ambulance was dispatched to the scene.

“Paramedics cared for and transported one patient to hospital in stable condition,” EHS said.

Video and images posted to social media show a large explosion of lights and smoke filling the area, with the ordeal seen from adjacent roads as well.

Kendra Bergen says she was driving to Chilliwack from Hope after her son’s hockey game when “suddenly, the sky just lit up with fireworks.”

“It was one of those moments where it takes a few minutes to process what we’re seeing in front of us,” she told CityNews.

It wasn’t something she expected to see at 10 p.m. in the middle of the highway.

Bergen says her son started recording the scene as they were passing by, noting it wasn’t until they got a little closer that they realized it was a vehicle that was on fire.

“The show of all of those fireworks going off at once was amazing but also a little unnerving as we were driving past,” Bergen said.

She tells CityNews at one point, she wondered whether it was safe to be driving through the area, with other vehicles and semis suddenly slowing down. She says she threw her hazard lights on to let others behind her on the highway that traffic was slowing significantly.

“It was definitely a spectacle, one I have never seen before,” Bergen, who is a teacher in Chilliwack, continued.

“It was that rollercoaster of emotions of the excitement of a fireworks show bigger than any I’ve ever seen in my life to, this is the wrong place, wrong time, it shouldn’t be happening here, and then concern for, obviously, the driver of the vehicle and anyone else involved once we realized this was probably impacting some people.”

Sargent admits this isn’t something you come across every day.

“Especially when our members show up to the scene of a motor vehicle collision. It was quite the fireworks show,” he added.

It’s unclear where the fireworks were being transported to and whether they were for private use or to be sold.

The highway was shut down for about an hour, the RCMP says, until the fire was fully out and the vehicles were moved.

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