Tournament Capital Centre cleared

By Chad Harris
November 19, 2015 - 3:11pm Updated: November 20, 2015 - 3:07pm

The Tournament Capital Centre is back in operation. Aquatic classes are on and swimming lanes are open at the Canada Games pool, and next door, activities have resumed at the TCC Fieldhouse. 

But that wasn't the case on Thursday afternoon after a bomb threat forced 300 hundred people to evacuate the TCC.

"We had a few hundred people exit the building within 10 minutes. Lights were on, coffeemakers were still on, wallets and keys were sitting out," says Jeff Putnam, Civic Facilities Manager for the City of Kamloops. "We had a lot of work to do last night, but pleased to report at 5:30 this morning, we're open for our regular operation."

But it was a frightening few hours for people using the TCC, evacuated after a phone call came into Kamloops RCMP around 2:30, reporting a bomb inside the facility.

"We also had to evacuate the Open Learning Centre next door at TRU because of its proximity," says Cst. Jason Epp of the Kamloops RCMP. "Once we had everything secured and locked down, it was just a matter of waiting until our Police Dog Services team could arrive from Kelowna."

The Police Dog Services team came around 6 p.m. on Thursday evening, and after a thorough search of the 165,000 square foot building by the police bomb dog, there was no explosive device found. 

 "It wasn't until 7:30pm that the dog was able to complete his search, at which point we concluded we had the all clear, no explosives were found," says Epp.

Kamloops RCMP still don't know from where the call originated. The Major Crimes unit is investigating, but it doesn't believe it came from the TCC.

"We don't believe so, but we can't confirm at this time exactly were the call did originate."

Meanwhile, staff at the TCC feel the evacuation went well, but they took away some valuable lessons they hope to implement should another emergency occur.

"We want to install a public announcing system for the entire facility," says Putnam, who says it would cost up to $100,000. "It's very expensive to do, but we do have budget in future years that we'd be able to allocate towards that. Makes it a lot easier to communicate with people. It's a 165,000 square feet and it would be much better if we did that."

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