IAFF Local 18 calls for investments from senior levels of government to enhance public safety in Vancouver

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      The union representing Vancouver firefighters has called for help from senior levels of government in addressing overlapping mental-health and opioid crises.

      IAFF Local 18 said in a news release that "upstream investment in resources and prevention" are necessary to keep everyone safe.

      The union noted that its members see this issue firsthand.

      On August 6, firefighters were called to extinguish a rooming-house fire on Granville Street where the alleged arsonist was attacking other occupants with a machete.

      According to IAFF Local 18, this incident came after "weeks of major fires in Vancouver, unsafe conditions to residents on the DTES, and other weather-related pressures".

      “We want to thank the Vancouver Police Department who quickly came to our aid, protected our members and the public, and ultimately de-escalated an incredibly dangerous situation," IAFF Local 18 vice president Lee Lax said.

      Lax also expressed appreciation to all other emergency-support workers, including ambulance paramedics.

      Police shot the alleged assailant and he was taken to hospital for treatment of his injuries.

      Subsequently, Crown counsel charged Ibrahim Abdela Bakhit, 48, with four counts of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

      None of the allegations have been proven against him in court.