Bomb scare prompts evacuation of federal building

Whitehorse RCMP evacuated the Elijah Smith Building on Wednesday afternoon, following the report of a suspicious black briefcase left on the first floor. 

Whitehorse RCMP evacuated the Elijah Smith Building on Wednesday afternoon, following the report of a suspicious black briefcase left on the first floor.

The RCMP’s explosive disposal unit was called in around 1:30 p.m. to inspect the package. For more than an hour, the large white truck sat in the building’s parking lot, its lights flashing.

It wasn’t until 3 p.m. that two trucks from the Whitehorse Fire Department, as well as two police vehicles, arrived on scene and blocked off the streets around the building.

A police officer on Steele Street waved people away from the building. Firemen set up bright orange cones to prevent people from approaching the area.

Several dozen employees from the building were evacuated and many of them walked over to nearby LePage Park.

Approximately 30 minutes later, both firemen and police began yelling orders at pedestrians, pushing them back even further and denying access to Third Avenue between Main and Wood streets.

They eventually cordoned off the area with police tape.

Around 4 p.m. the unit’s bomb disposal robot was seen leaving the building with a small, black briefcase in its claw.

It put the package next to the explosives unit vehicle and backed away. A few minutes later, an officer in a bomb disposal suit was seen leaving the building.

Employees were soon allowed to return to the building.

“Police must respond to these situations with the highest risk assessment until the package is proven to be non-threatening,” Cpl. Jeff Myke said in a news release yesterday.

He wouldn’t reveal what was inside the black briefcase, simply stating that its contents were harmless.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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