Bennington Heights school evacuated in bomb scare

No explosives found, police say after detonating two suspicious packages

Toronto police blew up two suspicious packages after evacuating and searching Bennington Heights Elementary School on Bennington Heights Drive this morning.

They found no explosives at the school, Insp. Jim Gotell told media a block from the cordoned off site.

“This was just, I would say, a practical joke — or something that somebody left to see what would happen if they did that,” Gotell said.

Elementary school students had been moved to Rolph Road Elementary School for the rest of the day. Children attending the attached Bennington Heights Day Care had been sent to Loblaws at the corner of Bayview and Moore Park avenues.

Shortly before 10 a.m. school staff found near the school’s back door a black suitcase with a note on it, saying a bomb was inside and more were around the school, police said.

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They called 911 and the first police on the scene called for assistance of others, including specialized officers who deal with suspicious packages and canine officers. Toronto Fire Services and paramedics also arrived.

By 11 a.m. several blocks of the normally staid Bennington Heights neighbourhood were lined with emergency cars and vans, as dozens of officers guarded the school area.

After evacuating the children and containing the site, police used a robot to examine the suitcase. They determined the package was of enough concern that they conducted a controlled explosion. A small explosive devise shot water at high pressure into the package which forced it open.

Inside was a rock, police said.

A second package found in the school was also forced open but was discovered to be empty.

Police have completed a thorough check of the school’s interior and and said they are satisfied there are no explosives.

“It’s unfortunate that it tied up a lot of resources of the Toronto Police at this time,” Gotell said. The unknown perpetrator could face charges of mischief and threatening, he said.

Police are investigating by examining evidence from the packages and from surveillance cameras.

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Posted: May 22 2019 2:31 pm