A shattering vehicular explosion at an Anne Street apartment complex has led Barrie police back to the scene as they sift through the remnants in a bid to iron out the details of the incident. Suspicions are high that an improvised explosive device (IED) had been stealthily fixed to a vehicle in the 108-A Anne Street North parking lot. Triggered around 3 a.m., the loud detonation stirred numerous inhabitants who promptly dialled 911.
Upon arrival, law enforcement officers found themselves faced with two battered vehicles. Without delay, they made swift work of evacuating residents of the neighboring apartment building along with any other nearby individuals.
Peter Leon, Barrie Police Services Corporate Communications Coordinator, reflected on the situation. “Our diligent efforts begin today,” he stated. “Yesterday required an immediate response and we successfully neutralized any immediate danger. Now, our mission pivots to unveiling the truth behind this event, quenching not just our own curiosity but also the community’s.”
Several thoroughfares in the vicinity, including Anne and Wellington Streets, Anne Street and Gibbon Drive, Leacock Drive, and Edgehill Drive, were cordoned off until the evening hours of Wednesday.
Despite the explosion being confined to the parking lot, Leon commented that police have expanded their examination to both the north and south areas along Anne Street. “Towards the north, there are clusters of residences and to the south, we find a majority of businesses.” He concluded, “Certainly, someone nearby likely has camera surveillance that will prove instrumental to our investigation.”
CTV Public Safety Analyst and ex-OPP commissioner Chris Lewis is of the belief that the explosive incident was not random.
As the investigation continues, Lewis shared that forensic teams will meticulously analyze the device to ascertain what it was comprised of. “An IED essentially is a makeshift bomb, yet some variants can be meticulously constructed,” Lewis said. “Various explosive materials can be easily procured from stores, much like in the Oklahoma City government building bombing incident, or secured from underground markets, despite the latter option being illicit.”
Lewis further stated that such explosive incidents outside of organized crime circles are relatively rare domestically. “Biker gangs and mob activities within the Toronto Area, including York Region, have witnessed multiple explosions,” he stated. “Though this has occurred in Barrie this time around, it does not necessarily indicate a local connection. The perpetrator’s intent could have been targeted at Barrie residents, but it does not imply any links to actions or affiliations to Barrie.”
As yet, the owner of the targeted vehicle remains unidentified, and no arrests have been made.
Barrie police have expressed their gratitude to community members for their unwavering cooperation during the initial aftermath of the blast. The search for truth continues, and they encourage anyone with relevant information to come forward by contacting the police directly or through Crime Stoppers.