‘Bomb’ was smoke alarm
Suspicious package at Stratford Petro-Canada forced evacuation of the business
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.