"Uncalled for"- Man allegedly punches young volunteer in the face at Tumbler Ridge haunted house
FORT ST. JOHN -- According to the organizers at Tumbler Ridge’s The Blunden's Yard Haunt, many of their volunteers were physically and verbally abused during the haunted maze.
On Saturday, they started the event with a children’s story time at 5:30 p.m. It was then followed by a haunted maze at 6. The event aims to raise money and food for the local food bank.
“I would say probably 70 per cent of the volunteers were physically abused and they were all verbally abused,” says Terry Cosgrove, one of the organizers.
Amanda Blunden says teenagers and adults allegedly said offensive, vulgar and racist language to the volunteers. Multiple witnesses allegedly stated that they heard teenagers say thry were going to punch the volunteers in the maze. Several volunteers were allegedly physically assaulted within the maze. Organizers received many reports of people hitting, grabbing, and punching the volunteers.
Cosgrove states, in one incident, a man in his 40’s or 50s allegedly punched a young teen, bashing his chin. He then entered the next room where the volunteer was walking to her spot.
“They were actually just walking back into their spot when he came through and just raised his fists to punch her and she put her arm up to block it. Her whole arm has just a massive bruise and she can't even turn her arm the one way,” she explains.
She says the volunteers know to stand an arm’s length away since they are used to people having a physical reaction from being scared. “That [incident] was deliberate and it's absolutely uncalled for.”
Blunden says garbage was thrown on the ground. The props, fences and lights were also damaged beyond repair.
They are currently looking through videos and photos to look for the teens and adults involved in the incident. They will then take the footage to the local RCMP.
For future events, Cosgrove says they are looking at adding security cameras and eliminating the costume contest so people are not entering with masks and makeup.
She says they raised over 1,700 for the local food bank. “It's important to continue for that reason. So not only is it a good night of fun for the whole town, but it also supports our community with those in need,” she says, explaining that many of the residents were amazing and had a great time except for the select groups.