‘Bomb’ was smoke alarm

Sus­pi­cious pack­age at Strat­ford Petro-Canada forced evac­u­a­tion of the busi­ness

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER

The sus­pi­cious pack­age that was dis­cov­ered in a garbage bin at the Petro-Canada and Tim Hor­tons in Strat­ford Sun­day af­ter­noon turned out to be a beep­ing smoke de­tec­tor.

The Queens District RCMP cor­doned off the busi­ness for sev­eral hours as they awaited the Ex­plo­sive Dis­posal Unit (EDU) from Hal­i­fax to ex­am­ine and re­move the pack­age.

Sgt. Leanne But­ler, spokesper­son with the RCMP, said they re­ceived a call from an em­ployee that there was a sus­pi­cious pack­age emit­ting sound in a garbage bin out­side of the build­ing.

“It’s hard to ex­plain, it’s more like an alarm clock go­ing off kind of sound, not a ticking,” said But­ler be­fore the source of the noise was iden­ti­fied.

“It could al­most be like a cell­phone ring, but it’s a con­tin­u­ous kind of noise emit­ting from the pack­age.”

But­ler said RCMP re­sponded to the call at the Petro-Canada/ Tim Hor­tons, also known as the Strat­ford Quick-Stop, at ap­prox­i­mately 12 p.m. and after as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion they de­cided to call the EDU in Hal­i­fax.

“If there is some­thing we can’t as­sess our­selves and if it’s not safe for a mem­ber to ex­am­ine, that’s what we would do, we call them,” ex­plained But­ler.

“They have the proper equip­ment and proper train­ing to check out sus­pi­cious pack­ages.”

But­ler said after speak­ing with mem­bers of the EDU and the own­ers of the build­ing, they de­cided for pub­lic safety they would go the ex­tra step and close ev­ery­thing un­til it was checked out.

“It was very or­derly,” said But­ler on the evac­u­a­tion. “Ev­ery­thing went smooth.”

Two RCMP ve­hi­cles along with yel­low tape had blocked off the en­trances to the Strat­ford Quick-Stop. The EDU ar­rived at ap­prox­i­mately 4 p.m. and within min­utes iden­ti­fied what was mak­ing the sound. But­ler said the sus­pi­cious pack­age was re­moved us­ing long bar equip­ment that put the EDU mem­ber at a dis­tance.

“Once he opened the pack­age he could see that it was a smoke de­tec­tor that some­body had put in a bag in the garbage can,” said But­ler. “The bat­tery was still in it so it was mak­ing an audi­ble noise like a smoke de­tec­tor does but we didn’t know what it was.”

The Strat­ford Petro-Canada and Tim Hor­tons re­opened for busi­ness Sun­day evening.

“The pub­lic’s safety is al­ways our num­ber one pri­or­ity,” said But­ler. “Peo­ple might say, ‘how come they took all this time to do this’, but we have to make sure that these types of things are safe. It could have been some­thing ne­far­i­ous but it wasn’t and we are glad that it wasn’t.”


An RCMP of­fi­cer re­moves the yel­low po­lice tape as Cpl. Ron Robin­son, cen­tre, RCMP ex­plo­sive ex­pert, Const. Lorenz San­ders and Sgt. Leanne But­ler, ex­am­ine the smoke de­tec­tor that caused the evac­u­a­tion of the Strat­ford Petro-Canada/Tim Hor­tons Sun­day. The smoke de­tec­tor was in a plas­tic bag and mak­ing ‘sus­pi­cious” sounds so, as a pre­cau­tion, the Ex­plo­sive Dis­posal Unit was called in from Hal­i­fax.


The white plas­tic bag con­tain­ing the smoke alarm can be seen stick­ing out of the garbage bin at the right.

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