Bomb threats

Bomb threats against residential buildings are very rare but the one in this newspaper article seems worthy of mention.

Downtown tenants needlessly evacuated, police say
Toronto Star
13 February 2012
By: Stephanie Findlay Staff Reporter

Many tenants in two downtown buildings will be evacuating their homes and offices Tuesday after being informed by their property manager of a bomb threat—even though police say the threat isn’t valid.

On Monday, residents and owners of condominium and office space at 914 and 920 Yonge St. received a letter on Brookfield Residential Services Ltd. letterhead suggesting they evacuate their property because of a bomb threat.

“We have no choice but to strongly recommend that you vacate your unit as soon as possible and that you do not enter any area of the Condominium Property for the entire 24-hour calendar day of February 14, 2012,” reads the letter from property manager Jack Gale.

Was there any sign the security was beefed up?

The decisions made by the board of directors and the management company seem to be more of an attempt to "cover-their ass" than useful. If there is a threat to bomb the building, why wait until the day before to inform the residents?

The letter does not assure the residents that management has taken precautions or that they will be taking any precautions from then until Tuesday.

Finally, they never stated that the police decided that the risk was so minimal that the building did not need to be evacuated.

Where were the residents suppose to go?

But police say they investigated the threat earlier in January and there is no cause for alarm.

“We are not recommending a building be evacuated,” said Staff Sgt. Shawn Meloche. “They’ve created a huge panic among the tenants.”

Meloche said the threat, in the form of a “very vague” email, has been “blown completely out of proportion” and that the reference to Feb. 14 is a series of numbers that can be read as a date, but is not necessarily one. “(Brookfield) has known about this as long as we have,” he said. “Why did they wait until the night before?”

Gale, the property manager, did not return calls to the Star on Monday night. Tenants said that when they contacted him, he said he did not have any information beyond what was in the letter.

Unaware that police had declared the threat benign, some residents of 914 Yonge St. were in distress.

Beth Ireland, a resident on medical leave, is planning to stay out of the building for the day. A friend is taking care of her Boston terrier, Tetley, while she’s gone. “I smell something in the hallway,” said Ireland, “I’m afraid I smell a bomb.”

Maurita Gillies, a retiree, has lived in her bachelor apartment for 36 years. She said there was a similar bomb threat two months ago, directed to the building next door.

“It’s not very nice to tell you, ‘We’re going to blow this place up,’ ” said Gillies. “That’s very rude.”

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