Victoria jittery about explosives
By KIM LUNMAN, The Globe and Mail
Saturday, September 15, 2001
A Vancouver Island military base is reviewing its policy on notifying the public of demolition exercises after explosions alarmed residents in Victoria, already jittery in the wake of terrorist attacks in the United States this week.
Citizens flooded media outlets and local 911 lines with phone calls, reporting fireballs in the sky and explosive bangs after the exercises conducted at Bentick Island Thursday night.
Lieutenant-Commander Yves Vanier of the navy public-affairs office at CFB Esquimalt said yesterday the detonations were part of a routine military exercise on the island, located about 10 kilometres southwest of Victoria.
Notice of the training exercises were placed in local newspapers to alert residents Thursday, he said. The HMCS Ottawa was conducting drills near the island at about 8:30.
"We conduct these exercises on the island on many occasions and no one calls," said LCdr. Vanier.
He said the base may review its notification policy in light of the concern by also alerting other media outlets in advance of training drills.
Stephen Hussey, of the Esquimalt police and fire department, said that about three dozen concerned citizens called Thursday night to report "everything from loud bangs to smoke and explosives" in the sky.