A hazardous material scare at a scrap metal recycling facility north of Ladysmith on Monday forced the voluntary evacuation of two businesses after several objects believed to be ammunition were discovered in a scrap pile.
Ladysmith RCMP blocked off the road to Schnitzer Steel Industries, just off of the Trans-Canada Highway south of the Nanaimo Airport, for over four hours after employees found several scuba tank-sized pieces partially encased in cement shortly after opening.
Const. Pat Faye was first on scene and observed the suspected “old ammunition” from a distance before making the decision to request assistance from a military explosives unit out of Victoria.
“It looks like whatever it is deactivated and right now there doesn’t appear to be any danger to the public,” he told the Chronicle at the scene.
People who were looking to drop of scrap metal were being turned away from the site. RCMP credited Schnitzer management staff for being accommodating as the investigation was being carried out.
The exact number of objects was still unknown as of early Monday afternoon because they were located in a pile.
RCMP also aren’t sure where the ammunition came from but plan on making that part of the investigation going forward.
“We don’t know right now when or where exactly it came from….there’s no malicious intent that we can see thus far,” Faye said.
“All indications from the yard manager and the explosives unit from the military is that it looks like really, really old.”