The Walnut Grove Community Centre was rapidly evacuated Thursday morning after a maintenance worker found a box labeled “radioactive waste.”
The box was found in a cardboard recycling bin by the northwest corner of the building, but it was apparently brought inside before staff sounded the alarm.
At about 10 a.m., the building was hurriedly emptied, sending pool visitors to sit out on the nearby lawns clad in swimsuits and towels.
Police and Langley Township firefighters surrounded and taped off entrances to the building to prevent anyone from wandering too close.
The Explosives Disposal Unit arrived and began checking out the mysterious box.
The package had markings indicating that it contained medical supplies of some kind, said Cpl. Holly Marks of the Langley RCMP.
The EDU officers tested the outside of the box and found no evidence of radioactivity. Members of the Langley RCMP Ident unit then moved in, looking for anything on the outside of the box that could help them find the person who had left it behind.
There was something inside the box when it was found, said Cpl. Craig Van Herk, but police could not say more about the contents.
A further test determined there was no radiation coming from any of the box’s contents, and by shortly after noon, the community centre was opened again, and swimmers were able to retrieve their clothes from the lockers inside the building.
The box and other evidence was carried off by the local Mounties as the EDU packed up their gear used for handling potentially dangerous items.
The box reads “URGENT MEDICAL DEVICE” on one side.
Marks said police do not believe there was ever an intended threat against the community centre. Markings on the box indicate that the medical materials may have been intended for one specific patient, and investigators were trying to contact that person to find out how the box ended up behind the Walnut Grove Community Centre.
This incident follows an apparently deliberate hoax earlier this month, in which a box was labelled “explosive” and placed outside the IGA in Langley City. There was no bomb inside the box.