A possible bomb threat forced the evacuation of the Chilliwack Law Courts Tuesday afternoon.
Just after 2:30 p.m. the courthouse received what RCMP described as an “unspecified threat.”
Those in courtroom 204 at the time, including this Progress reporter, were notified by one of the sheriffs that everyone had to leave due to a problem in the building. The same message was spread to all other courtrooms and everyone unhurriedly left the building to a scene of police cars with lights flashing surrounding Five Corners Plaza.
A sheriff said a bomb threat was called in and people were moved away from the front of the building, while those in the Crown counsel offices and the Downtown BIA in the adjacent office building were also evacuated.
There was some traffic chaos in the area as Mounties blocked off the streets surrounding the courthouse building including stretches of Yale Road, Princess Avenue, Main Street and Wellington Avenue.
An RCMP dog handler arrived at around 3 p.m. They went inside the courthouse and by around 3:30 p.m. the dog handler left the scene, and people were allowed back into the courthouse, and streets were reopened.
But almost immediately, people were evacuated yet again as a suspicious package was located behind the building by the parking lot. The item was silver and that looked much like a stainless steel BBQ tool case. Those inside the bowling alley could see the item through the glass doors that back onto the alley.
The dog handler returned, and Mounties again blocked off Princess, Wellington and later Main Street.
Chilliwack RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Vrolyk gave a brief statement saying the RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit were called and said that “out of an abundance of caution” the area within 100 metres should be cleared.
The EDU arrived Tuesday evening and determined the item was not a risk to public safety, Vrolyk said.
As part of the follow-up investigation, police are asking for help to identify an older model, bluish-green, four-door sedan with a sun roof caught on nearby security footage.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611.