Kelowna ICBC employees were asked to keep working earlier this week, despite the fact explosives were tucked within the contents of a stolen car just outside.
Then, within a few hours, the powers that be had a change of heart and employees were asked to quickly file out of the office.
The chain of events has led some to question the safety protocols of both the police and the Crown corporation apply in such cases. Especially considering the RCMP shut down a Kelowna gas station just a few weeks earlier when they found a wrapped package abandoned in an alleyway.
With that, police are offering some insight into how they dealt with events.
“An employee of the local ICBC driver licensing and claims centre called police after they made a discovery within a vehicle parked at their clams centre facility, located at 1720 Springfield Road,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, noting the call was made Jan. 31 at 1:53 p.m.
“A vehicle estimator located what appeared to be an explosive item among the contents of a passenger vehicle, towed to their facility and associated to a stolen vehicle claim initiated out of the Lower Mainland. The vehicle had been previously recovered by RCMP in the Central Okanagan.”
Mounties responded to the scene and immediately consulted with the RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit, which conducted a a proper risk assessment.
As a result of that assessment, O’Donaghey estimated that EDU was confident there was no imminent risk to the public, unless they were in close proximity to the explosive material which was considered more stable than your typical explosive and would have required further components to discharge.
Around 4:30 p.m. employees were asked to leave work.
RCMP secured the scene and awaited the arrival of the RCMP EDU, at approx. 8:15 p.m., from the Lower Mainland.
EDU Police Explosives Technicians (PET) isolated and secured the explosive item and conducted a search of the rest of the vehicle with negative results.
“RCMP wish to commend the employees of ICBC for taking the necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of the general public,” said O’Donaghey.
“Due to the inherent dangers involved in handling explosives and explosive materials, it is imperative that the public do not physically handle a suspected explosive material or item, that they immediately call police and if possible create a safe area around that item.”
O’Donaghey added that it’s important to leave suspicious or suspected explosive items where they are found and not transporting them to any police detachment.
Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.