Olympic Village residents stunned as drug raid turns into hazmat situation
Published Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:37AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 29, 2017 3:13PM PDT
Heavily armed police broke down the door of an Olympic Village townhome before calling in the fire department’s hazmat team to help them pack up a suspected drug operation Monday afternoon.
Witnesses say the 4:00 p.m. raid played out like a scene from an action movie as Emergency Response Team officers armed with assault rifles surrounded the building at Columbia Street and W. 1st Avenue.
One resident, who did not want to be identified, told CTV News he poked his head out his door when he heard knocking and loud voices in the hallway. He says officers waved him back inside as they prepared to use a battering ram on another unit on his floor.
Vancouver police say officers called in the hazmat team after finding unknown substances in the townhome while executing a drug related search warrant. Sgt. Jason Robillard said the substances still had not been identified by Tuesday morning.
"We don't have any testing back yet but we always want to make sure that we err on the side of caution with any sort of powder substance," Robillard told reporters.
Authorities did not feel it necessary to evacuate nearby suites, according to police.
One person was arrested and two officers were taken to the hospital as a precaution and released shortly after.
"They did feel a little light-headed and it could have been from any number of things," Robillard said. "They were released without any treatment."
Police could not confirm whether the suspect who was arrested was known to them.
Robillard said police would be on the scene to collect evidence Tuesday, and officers would continue to use safety protocols for working around hazardous material.
During the initial raid, a number of curious condo-dwellers in the densely populated neighbourhood gathered on the surrounding streets and in a nearby park to see what was going on.
"I'm surprised because this is a neighbourhood full of yuppies,” said Ellysa Smith, who lives in the building where the raid took place. “Why is the SWAT team going in here?"