RCMP now confirm a 21-year-old man is dead after a pair of explosions in a parkade in Sherwood Park, Alta.
The explosions and subsequent fire led to the evacuation of several downtown buildings in the bedroom community just east of Edmonton.
Emergency crews were called to reports of a fire Tuesday evening at a complex that houses the Strathcona County office and council chambers in Sherwood Park.
The first call came in at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday night and when emergency crews, they found a man inside a vehicle where the explosion was reported. He was transported to hospital, but died a short time later.
Police say his death was not related to a police interaction.
At around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, while members from the Emergency Response Team (ERT) along with the Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) were on scene investigating, a second explosion occurred while they were in close proximity.
RCMP say no one was injured.
The EDU team will remain on scene looking into the cause of the explosions and to make sure there are no other potential threats.
Earlier in the day, speculation online about what happened is not helping, but he acknowledged authorities are providing little information to help people understand what took place.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale would not comment on the situation, but his office did provide a statement.
“We’re grateful for the work of police and other first responders to safely manage this dangerous situation. It is under active investigation by the RCMP and as such it would inappropriate to comment further.”
RCMP don’t believe there is any further threat to the public and are not looking for any other suspects.
The RCMP Major Crime Unit from Edmonton has taken control of the investigation and are working with everyone on scene.
RCMP will not be releasing the name of the deceased as the investigation continues.
The community centre and library inside the complex, as well as two nearby schools and a performing arts centre, were all closed while police conducted their investigation.
Sherwood Park Mayor Rod Frank issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon that said in part:
“Obviously, this event has could have had a far more tragic outcome, and I am grateful to the rapid and professional response of our emergency responders and the RCMP to minimize the risk to our residents.
While these unprecedented explosions have rocked our close-knit community, I know our community will overcome this isolated incident. It is impossible to know the motivation for this desperate action. I can tell you that I have full confidence in the RCMP’s investigative ability to uncover these important answers.
In order to provide the RCMP with the room they need for their investigation, the Community Centre and County Hall buildings will remain closed. Please refer to our website for full details on closures.”
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