Fire Prevention Parade Near Fatality Has Public Safety Committee Studying Solutions

Updated 6 years ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

As a firefighter now council member David Ball annually “helped set up” the Fire Prevention Parade.

A near tragedy at October’s parade stopped the procession and has council and Mayor Steve Williams office readying preventive measures. The Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, Oct. 23 discussed what crowd control techniques work best.

The incident involved a three to four year old child who was nearly crushed by a fire truck. The young man, according to Ball,  had entered the street to grab candy,  “slipped and slid toward a fire truck” as his mom  hollered “there’s more candy.”  After he was nearly crushed by the truck, both Capt. Albers and councilman Ball temporarily halted the parade.

“We don’t want to be parade grinchs,” Ball told council’s work session but rules will be developed to “not throw [items] from moving vehicles. We’ll have people walk along and hand out candy.”

Although the police department  had invested in long ropes, the candy tossing enticed children and others to snake into the street. During the fire prevention parade, the crowd hindered marching bands from maintaining formation.

Currently, Capt. Albers and Police Chief Skip Holbrook are working on a set of rules, which will be examined by the Mayor’s office. The Mayor and council hope these procedures can be enforced through a  parade permit, rather than passing an ordinance giving police authority to write a citation.

“We don’t want to dip into people’s pockets,” Ball said.

Holbrook told the committee the public will be informed through an education campaign prior to the Christmas parade.

“We can see if rules are sufficient or if we need an ordinance to write citations,” Holbrook said.

Currently,  Huntington does not have an “ordinance or regulations” concerning parades, only requirement for street closure.

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