Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Anthrax Investigation: Vancouver

When I drove to work this morning, I took a slightly different route to scout out some 'cheap parking' I had seen a few days earlier. Found my spot and started walking to the office (it's a few extra blocks if you want to save money).

Interestingly, when I got to the block my office is on, the entire road had been blocked off and there were emergency vehicles all over the place. They were concentrated around the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency building where all the action was obviously happening.

The typical situation for something like this is when a fire alarm goes off, but usually the road is never closed. Someone suggested it might be a bomb threat which sounded reasonable at the start.

However, it became apparent very quickly that it was something more than just a bomb threat when the Hazardous Materials team showed up.

When a camera man showed up, the spokesman for the fire department came out to talk to him and I listened in. He said they were investigating a white powder which about four people had come into contact with.

By this time, the building had been evacuated and the announcement was made that all staff should leave the area until noon. At that time, they were to call the 1-800 number on their ID cards which would have a message containing further instructions.

They had also set up a tent which I believe is for the hazardous materials teams to decontaminate when coming out of the building.

And this is my favorite shot. The two media guys who showed up were a little late and missed out on this type of thing. Below is a picture of a clear plastic box with those gloves built into them so you can work from the outside without coming into contact with what is on the inside. They must have used it to look at something more closely, or perhaps to do the chemical testing.

I sent emails to the two local newspapers and actually got a phone call from The Province. I talked to them for a while about what happened and they said they were interested in looking at my pictures, and would pay me if they were used in the newspaper! I'm not sure when it would show up, probably tomorrow since it'll be old news if it's any later than that. Might have to pick up a paper to check!

UPDATE - Thursday, March 17, 2005

Checked three papers today (Province, Sun, Metro), not a word about yesterdays events. Everything is being overshadowed by the Air India trial, but by the time that blows over, it might be too late for this story.


2 Smart Remarks:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you held your breath in during the whole shoot!

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Daniel J said...

I stuck around as long as I could. I also e-mailed CTV, GLOBALTV, cknw and others in the hopes of them getting the story. Two showed up to the event. CityTV(Who called them?) and CKNW with a pocket recorder and camera. I listened intently to CKNW and watched the 11PM CityTV News stayed up late until their report was over but no mention of the incident. :( all that effort and no more knowledge other than 5 ppl got sick from yellow powder.

11:10 AM  

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