Saskatoon emergency response at VIDO-InterVac lab cost city $19K

A Saskatoon Fire Department hazmat team and police car parked outside the VIDO-InterVac labs on Tuesday. Slavo Kutash / Global News

A City of Saskatoon spokesperson said Tuesday’s emergency response to two suspicious packages found at the University of Saskatchewan’s VIDO-InterVac lab cost the city about $19,000.

Mark Rogstad, the media relations manager for the city, provided the estimate for the firefighters’ efforts in an email.

However, city officials wouldn’t say what the packages contained.

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“We have no interest in drawing further attention to the incident, and have no comment on the exact substance other than it was confirmed to be non-hazardous,” a spokesperson wrote.

A Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) representative told Global News it is not a criminal investigation because the SPS’ bomb squad and Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) hazardous material team determined the packages did not contain any explosives or hazardous material.

The police also wouldn’t say what was in the packages, who sent them, if both were sent by the same people or persons or if they contained the same substances.

Around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, crews from the SPS, SFD, the city’s Emergency Management Organization and the university responded to a suspicious package found at the VIDO-InterVac lab, on-campus.

The police cordoned off the area and closed nearby roads.

Read more: Police detonate suspicious package in Saskatoon

A city press release said hazmat teams entered the building to conduct air tests. The teams advanced further into the building when the tests were negative and began searching for the package.

Once the teams found it they tested the contents, which were also found to be non-hazardous.

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As the teams were finishing another package was discovered at 100 Administration Pl.

Staff evacuated the building and emergency personnel repeated the process.

They found the contents of the second package were also not a threat.

The press release said the fire department left the area shortly before 9 p.m., seven hours after they arrived.

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