Explosion Jolts Barrie at Dawn: Cars Damaged, Residents Evacuated in Controlled Blast Response

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On a seemingly ordinary Wednesday, residents in the west end of Barrie, Ontario were jolted awake by an unusual incident—an explosion rang out in the early morning from a parking lot on Anne Street North. It appeared that an improvised explosive device (IED), had been strategically placed on a vehicle and subsequently detonated around 3 a.m.

Soon after the loud explosion, the police were alerted by numerous 911 calls from startled citizens. On arriving at the scene, officers discovered two vehicles bearing the brunt of the blast’s damages. Following this discovery, the residents of an adjacent apartment building, along with others in nearby buildings, were swiftly and systematically evacuated.

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For the safety of all, the police advised residents in the surrounding areas to stay indoors until further updates were provided. As a result, multiple key roads in the vicinity, including Anne and Wellington Streets, Anne Street and Gibbon Drive, and Leacock Drive and Edgehill Drive were temporarily closed.

The Explosive Disposal Unit of the Barrie Police Services was promptly dispatched to the scene, and discovered another device roughly 10 to 12 feet away from the initial blast zone. At approximately 8:30 a.m., a controlled detonation was performed to neutralise the potential threat. It seemed likely that this device was part of the original IED that had failed to explode when the initial detonation occurred.

There were fortunately no injuries reported among the residents or emergency personnel. Peter Leon, the spokesperson for the police, commented on the potential for extensive damage due to the proximity of several high-rise buildings, a retirement home, and a neighbourhood community. The K9 unit was also brought in to ensure no additional explosives were present.

The investigation thus far suggests that the instigator likely targeted the owner or user of the vehicle. If this individual cooperates with the police, the authorities are optimistic that a suspect list can be established swiftly.

As the day progressed, residents were not permitted to exit or enter the area. To maintain public safety, the police urged the public to be patient. According to Leon, the strict measures in place were devised to ensure the community’s wellbeing, as well as the safety of the officers and emergency services personnel on scene. Eventually, with the threat alleviated, Anne Street was reopened around 7:30 p.m.

The police confirmed that no arrests have been made yet but vowed to continue with the ongoing investigation until the culprits of the instance were identified. The public has been urged to provide relevant dash cam footage or additional information on the incident by reaching out to the authorities directly, or through Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous.