Rimouski: the suspect package was harmless
The suspect package, which Monday morning forced the evacuation of fifteen homes and the closure of Highway 232 in the Sainte-Blandine district of Rimouski, proved to be harmless.
When he arrived at work at around 7.45 am, a gas station employee discovered a small suitcase which, according to his colleague Emy Ouellet, had been placed on one of the lids of the fuel tanks. The man took no chances and immediately called the police.
“A tank entered the yard and it stopped,” says the cashier from the images of commercial surveillance cameras. Two guys came out, they opened the suitcase of the tank and dropped it on the fuel tanks. They closed the suitcase of the tank and left. My colleague found this weird. He did well to call the police. ”
As soon as they arrived on the scene shortly after 8:00 am, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) police quickly erected a perimeter with a radius of 100 meters. “It’s the procedure, since we did not know the contents of this bag or its provenance,” says the spokesman of the SQ, Claude Doiron. The agents then proceeded to the evacuation of about fifteen residences of the sector as well as the closing of the service station and the road which crosses the district. The SQ has sought the assistance of the Department of Transport to develop a bypass.
The situation required the intervention of firefighters and City of Rimouski employees, who made the local community center available to evacuated residents. The students from the neighborhood school were confined inside. The management of the establishment offered them dinner.
SQ fireworkers from Quebec arrived at dinner time. Using their equipment, they were able to check the contents of the bag. After finding that his content was harmless, they left with it. Shortly before 1 pm, the evacuated residents were able to return to their homes and the service station was able to reopen. Road blockage was lifted and traffic was able to resume normally. The children were also able to return home after school.
The SQ is continuing its investigation to find out where the suitcase came from and to find the two men who filed it in front of the store. “Is it someone who wanted to make a bad joke?” Asked Sergeant Doiron.
The spokesman of the SQ ensures that the owners of the service station have not received threats or had any trouble with anyone in recent weeks.
For people who question the relevance of such a deployment of authorities after the discovery of a package considered suspect, Claude Doiron replied: “There is no chance to take, especially when talking about a suitcase in a place as unusual as a service station. At that time, the most important thing for us, the police, is the safety of the people first. It goes without saying that we must make preventive evacuations. “