Two officers were sent to hospital and the hazmat team was called in Monday afternoon after a search warrant executed at an Olympic Village townhouse turned up unknown substances.
Vancouver police were executing the drug-related search warrant in the area of Columbia Street and 1st Avenue just after 4 p.m.
Department spokesperson Sgt. Jason Robillard said two of the officers felt light headed and went to the hospital as a precaution. They were later released and did not require any treatment. Vancouver Fire and Rescue’s hazmat response team was called into help with the investigation.
“We don’t have any testing back yet at all but we always want to make sure we err on the side of caution with any sort of power substance or any type of unknown substance,” Robillard said.
Officers and the hazmat team were back at the home, and had a portion of Columbia Street blocked off, Tuesday morning.
Robillard said it was unknown how long officers would be on scene.
“It depends on what they find and how long it takes to process the scene. Safety protocol sometimes can take time so I can’t really put a time limit on that but they will be there until everything is dealt with safely and the scene is processed for evidence and safety,” he said.
With the proliferation of fentanyl, which can be dangerous in small amounts even if it just makes contact with the skin, or is inhaled, officers must proceed with caution when investigating possible drug operations.
“That’s why these things take time is because we have to put the brakes on and make sure we assess the scene properly… to make sure that we have all the precautions in place because we want to make sure we do it as safely as possible,” Robillard said, adding that the department often works with RCMP, emergency health services and the fire department in these cases.
In this case, surrounding residents did not have to be evacuated.
One person was arrested Monday and charges are likely, Robillard said.
“The investigation is still ongoing,” he said. “They’re gathering evidence as we speak and this was a search warrant so there is evidence prior to this and it’s an ongoing investigation from our organized crime section.”
Robillard said any resident who suspects a drug operation in their neighbourhood should call the department’s non-emergency line at 604-717-3321, or call 911 if a crime is in progress.