‘Pretty terrified’: Kelowna police incident remains unexplained

Click to play video: 'RCMP remain tight-lipped about major incident'
RCMP remain tight-lipped about major incident
WATCH: There are still more questions than answers tonight in the wake of Wednesday's major incident along Highway 97 in Kelowna. The dramatic scene trigged a heavy police presence and brought traffic to a halt for around 6 hours while businesses in the area were evacuated. Taya Fast reports. – Mar 28, 2024

As police tactical units descended on an industrial neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kelowna, fear of the unknown kicked in.

Eva Thiesen said it was around 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, when police rolled into the area and focused their attention on an Adams Road building that houses Adventure Trucks.

It sits just behind Bonanza Meats, where she works.

“They told us to all stay inside and they were all outside, kind of guarding our entire back area,” said Thiesen, recalling how police told them to stay inside and how those tactical units fanned out.

“There were quite a few with rifles … (We were) pretty terrified. We just didn’t know what was going on and we still don’t know what’s happening. They’re just being really tight-lipped about it.”

Click to play video: 'Break and enters down, fraud cases spike in Kelowna'
Break and enters down, fraud cases spike in Kelowna

A day later, police were still quiet about the incident that prompted them to take heavy weaponry to the area, bringing traffic along Highway 97 to a standstill.

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Nor have there been any explanations about how the building caught fire, or if unconfirmed reports of fatalities are true.

“We’re not confirming anything right now. We can’t provide details until the officers go in and start figuring out what happened,” Cpl. Michael Gauthier said Thursday afternoon.

“At this point, it’s only speculation. So until they go in and start taking away the evidence, we can’t confirm or provide anything.”

Gaulthier said the issue at hand is protecting evidence and ensuring statements still being gathered by officers at the scene are not tarnished by information released to the public.

What police will concede, however, was that whatever happened raised enough concern that they took action to protect public safety.

“That’s why we closed the highway down, evacuated some businesses around there, told others to shelter in place and told the public to stay out of the area,” Gauthier said.

“It’s ended now. So what’s happening is that there are some vehicles on scene that our officers are working at clearing for people who were not involved, or just had their vehicles parked there.”

And, he said, police are “working from the outside in” right now.

They’re still awaiting a search warrant that will allow them to lawfully go inside and start collecting evidence.

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Gauthier said that everything has to be done “correctly and methodically” and not to expect answers right away.

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