EXPLOSIVE CHEMICAL FOUND in PENDERA BUILDING
EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL FOUND in PENDERA BUILDING
Residents Lives Put at Risk
Today at 5pm as I was leaving my home at the Pendera, there were many emergency crews in the 100 block West Pender. These included Fire, Ambulance, Hazmat and Police. The whole block was blocked off and I knew something big was happening. Little did I know at the time, that the emergency response involved something occurring inside my building.
As I walked down the block to catch my ride at the corner, I noticed many Anti Poverty Committee (APC) members outside the Lotus Hotel. These same APC members work at DERA. I observed Aaron Muirhead, daytime manager at the Pendera, David Cunningham, APC Leader, Lily Loncur and Kim Kerr, Executive Director of DERA. I was concerned after seeing the APC and in the pit of my stomach, I knew something was up.
After returning to my building around 7:30pm, I noticed many police and fire officials outside my building and many of the same emergency vehicles were parked outside on Pender street. Upon entering my building, I observed many police standing around, I glanced around and saw a number of APC members sitting in the front foyer. With the APC members who are now DERA staff, was Kim Kerr. Police appeared to be standing watch.
My immediate thoughts is that something terrible was happening and I was struck with a profound fear. This fear though isn't unusual since I believe my safety and security to be severely compromised as a result of so many criminally involved APC members working at DERA and more recently at the Pendera. David Cunningham, who has been charged and plead guilty to uttering threats is now a full-time staff member of my building. This is raising lots of alarm bells in my building.
What I have learned and as I write this post at 9:30pm the Hazmat team are preparing to re-move a very hazardous and explosive chemical which is sitting in the Pendera staff office. The chemical involved is called perchloric acid. I overheard police and fire stating it was highly explosive. This container apparently has crystals forming around the cap and so extreme caution needed to be taken for its removal. In fact, an explosives demolition crew had to be brought in to stabilize the container.
At this time, the Identification squad has just arrived to take photos and dust for any prints. Where I sat observing the unfolding of events, the police are now needing to clear this area for removal of the perchloric acid. I heard the various officials discussing best methods of how to safely remove the chemical. So I know it's very dangerous.
How this highly explosive chemical came to find its resting place inside the Pendera staff office needs answering. I posed this question to Mr. Kim Kerr, who claims that it was found outside at a bus stop on Pender Street and apparently according to Mr. Kerr was moved to a small opening on the front side of the Pendera building and from there, it was brought into the office of the Pendera, where APC members, Aaron Muirhead and David Cunningham are on duty. The police claim, the container was brought into the office by a DERA employee.
Why this explosive material was brought into the Pendera needs immediate answering. I'm certain, the police have already questioned the staff and they would have a few answers in this regard. Another important question is why APC leaders and DERA staff members allowed this container to be brought into the building?
To allow highly explosive chemicals into the DERA building could have had dire consequences for the tenants at the Pendera. It has been suggested this material could have caused an explosion if it came into contact with cloth or wood.
The safety and security of the tenants at the Pendera are paramount and needed answering is whether staff involved in this incident at the Pendera have the necessary skills to ensure the appropriate safety and security of the Pendera residents? Why APC DERA staff members were outside down at the end of the block observing this potentially deadly occurrence while tenants remained inside the Pendera building needs to be answered. Was the safety of Pendera residents seriously compromised when APC/DERA staff abandoned their posts?
An operational review of DERA by BC Housing was initiated a year ago. As of yet, the findings haven't been made public. Issues around livability and safety & security concerns brought forward by tenants residing in DERA buildings, haven't been adequately addressed.
It's long overdue that the BC Government properly address these significant operational problems at DERA. Honorable Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing must now act in the public interest and demand a full accounting of the problems plaguing DERA.
Jamie Lee Hamilton