Explosive chemical found in Parker building

Winnipeg emergency services carried out detonation on U of M campus

A “potentially unstable” chemical found in a storage closet of the Parker building sent Winnipeg Emergency Services to the University of Manitoba on Friday, June 30.

Students and employees received an email shortly after 11 a.m. announcing the discovery. The email also noted that buildings connected to Parker would be evacuated until emergency services were able to assess the situation.

Buildings remained taped off with Winnipeg police cadets and university employees around the perimeter until the substance was safely detonated.

At 2:24 p.m. students and employees received a followup email that said, “City of Winnipeg Emergency Services have decided to proceed with a controlled detonation.”

The detonation occurred at 4:09 p.m. and a third email told students that the explosion had been successful and that buildings and spaces affected would be reopened soon.

Winnipeg police, fire and paramedics, as well as the bomb squad, lined the road between the Wallace building, Parker building and Machray Hall. The detonation was done outdoors and, according to an email from the university, had no effect on air quality.

The university’s environmental health and safety office (EHSO) declined an interview request. The university declined to interview but provided a written statement to the Manitoban, which stated that EHSO is “currently reviewing all chemical safety procedures and collaborating with others within the UM community to ensure the proper handling and storage of chemicals to
mitigate risk and prevent incident re-occurrence.”

Winnipeg Police Service did not respond to multiple requests for comment.