Editor’s Note: Added comments from RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison
A large section of Riverside Drive in Grand Forks was closed for most of Wednesday after RCMP learned of a person attempting to transport sticks of dynamite in a truck.
Grand Forks Fire Rescue were also on the scene. Eventually, the bomb squad from Vancouver was called to the area to properly dispose of the dynamite.
“We were called out by the RCMP,” said Dale Heriot, fire chief and manager of emergency services for Grand Forks Fire Rescue. “They asked for our assistance with some explosive material that was left on the side of the road. Apparently, a person was transporting material in their vehicle. The RCMP managed to catch up to them and stop them. At that point, the person put the material on the side of the road.”
Heriot said the hazardous material was 35 sticks of dynamite.
“Subsequently, we had to cordone off the whole area and wait for the bomb squad to arrive,” he said.
Heriot said the suspect contacted the fire department initially asking for help with the material.
“We had expressed to them not to move it,” he said. “I guess, apparently he did. We also told him to call the RCMP with regard to dynamite because we don’t handle that but the RCMP does.”
Grand Forks RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim Harrison said they received the call at around 11 a.m.
“Apparently, he had been transporting the dynamite but thought better of it,” he said. “He called the fire department apparently, who told him to contact us. We said, ‘Stop where you are. Don’t drive with a whole pile of dynamite that might be unstable. Any movement could set it off.”
The suspect complied with the police and stopped the vehicle and took the dynamite out of his truck.
“Unfortunately, he was right by Massey Park,” said Harrison. “As a result of it, there was a very quick response from the local fire department, city resources and police in order to cordone the area off and establish a safe zone and detour traffic on Riverside.”
The bomb squad (the Explosive Demolition Unit) from Vancouver arrived on the scene at approximately 6:30 p.m. and disposed of the sticks of dynamite.
“They poured some liquid material on the dynamite and loaded it into a protective container and loaded it on the back of their vehicle and took it away for disposal,” said Heriot.
Riverside Drive was open by 7 p.m.
“Our main concern at the time was public safety,” said Harrison. “I think between the city resources and ourselves we did move quickly to reduce any danger to the public.”
Harrison said the suspect has not been charged yet but that the investigation is ongoing.
“Several statutes were obviously violated. Not the least of which was the explosives act and certainly some other laws in regard to safe transportation and licenced transportation of explosive materials,” he said.