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Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’
Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary parents are in line to pick up their children after a police incident nearby saw students evacuated to the Sherman Road soccer fields. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

BC RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau said some of the residents of several houses and the entire student body at a nearby school have been evacuated out of an abundance of caution, but nothing criminal in nature is occurring despite a high police presence in a North Cowichan neighborhood.

“Somebody who was doing some gardening found some explosives,” Manseau explained. “We spoke to a couple of residents and to the school, and had them evacuate while we wait for an emergency disposal unit to come over.”

The incident is occurring in the 3000-block of Auchinachie Road. Citizens are advised to stay clear of the area, Block Watch captains in the area were notified of the situation.

“Specialized members of the Explosive Disposal Unit are en route to examine, and make a determination on how to proceed as safely as possible,” Manseau later wrote in a press release issued around 12:45 p.m. “

We’re currently in the preliminary stages of the investigation, but these explosives appear to have been historically stored where they were found, but that is still to be determined.”

The investigation is expected to last several hours. The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP thank the public for their patience during this time, especially those who are being displaced from their homes.

Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary students were evacuated from the school while police taped off the area around 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 14.

Nearby Auchinachie Road has been taped off at Somenos Road and fire crews are staged at Evans Park awaiting further instruction.

“There is a police incident next door so out of an abundance of caution they have evacuated the school,” said Cowichan Valley School District spokesperson Mike Russell at around 11:30 a.m.

The school district representative said he’s unsure how long the students will be out of school, but it could be the remainder of the school day. Students were bused to the Sherman Road soccer fields while others likely walked.

She said she believed all of the students had been accounted for and were being released to their parents around noon. Parents lined up to gather their children following COVID-19 protocol.

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Police tape crosses Auchinachie Road at Somenos Road as police investigate an incident Friday at 11:30 a.m. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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