Barrie police officials have confirmed there was an improvised explosive placed in the gas-cap area of a vehicle in the Anne Street parking lot, which blew up shortly before 3 a.m. this morning.
City police provided a brief update to reporters around 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, saying roads in the area of Anne Street and Edgehill Drive would reopen in the area shortly.
After receiving calls from area residents about an explosion around 3 a.m., officers cordoned the area around the foot of the Anne Street hill near the bridge over Highway 400.
Officers later found what they believe was a piece of the original explosive in a nearby garden area.
No injuries have been reported.
The investigation is ongoing.
Around 10 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 27, an officer with the explosive disposal unit could also be seen inspecting vehicles in the parking lot near Edgehill Drive.
One of the vehicles, a white SUV, has significant damage around its gas cap on the driver's side. About 30 minutes later, what appeared to be a bomb-sniffing dog was let loose in the parking lot and checked several vehicles
The morning bomb call in Barrie also affected some kids getting to school on Wednesday.
Morning road closures on the area of Anne Street and Edgehill Drive prompted the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium (SCSTC) to alter or cancel some of its transportation routes, said Sarah Kekewich, communications manager for the Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB).
However, all nearby public and Catholic schools were able to remain open.
“Earlier this morning, Barrie police advised the SCDSB of a situation in the community. Barrie police indicated that it was safe for school operations to continue as scheduled,” Kekewich said.
Pauline Stevenson, communications manager with the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, said the board has one school in the area, which was operating “business as usual.”
“All roads in the immediate vicinity of St. Mary's are open. We have sent a communication home to our families to let them know that we have been in contact with police services and they have advised that our school can operate as normal,” she said.
Barrie Fire Chief Cory Mainprize said the department did have a truck on standby at the scene, but was unable to provide many more details about the incident, noting it was an ongoing police investigation.
“The nature of the call always dictates the services that respond," Mainprize said. "Obviously, fire-related incidents are led by fire, medical incidents are Simcoe County paramedics and anything that is potentially criminal is led by police.
"(Potential) medical emergencies that occur in the city drive out what is called a tiered response. It just depends on the call, really. If there’s anything that requires investigation, police are responsible for that part of the incident," he added.
In an incident like what is occurring today, Mainprize says the fire department is there in a support role if required.
News reports indicated Ontario Provincial Police also has resources on scene.