Bomb threat in Abbotsford neighbourhood

Almost 30 police officers, Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS), BC Ambulance Service and Terasen Gas were deployed to deal with a potential bomb threat Sunday night in Abbotsford.

The incident began at about 5 p.m., when a woman from Port Coquitlam arrived to visit an acquaintance in a neighbourhood east of Station Road and north of Fraser Highway on the border between Abbotsford and Aldergrove.

The woman found a handwritten note on the window of the basement suite door and could see a partially dismantled, modified clock radio on a chair adjacent to the door.

Const. Ian MacDonald said the note did not specifically use the words "bomb" or "explosive," but was concerning enough for the woman to call police.

Officers who arrived on the scene also took the message seriously.

"The inference from the note led us to believe (a bomb) was within the realm of possiblity," he said.

The upstairs tenants of the home, a family of four, were immediately evacuated, but the basement suite initially appeared to be vacant.

Police learned the tenant was a 28-year-old man, who MacDonald said was in a trade in which he would have had the skills to produce "something that was of danger to the public." He would not say what that trade was.

Police cordoned off the area and contacted the RCMP explosive disposal unit.

A command post manned by eight officers was set up at the nearby Aberdeen fire hall, while another 20 officers were at the scene, including the Municipal Integrated Emergency Response Team.

AFRS, BC Ambulance and Terasen Gas were placed on standby in the Safeway parking lot down the road.

Residents of another four homes were evacuated. The gas supply was shut off to the home in question, as well as neighbouring residences.

Movement was noticed within the suite, and a negotiating team was able to reach the tenant over the phone. He emerged from the home several hours later, at about 12:30 a.m.

The bomb squad then verified that the modified clock radio was not an explosive device. No weapons were found in the suite.

The man was taken to hospital for assessment, and is now facing potential mischief charges, MacDonald said.

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