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Alarm that caused Quinte West city hall lockdown under investigation

OPP police and other emergency responders parked outside Quinte West City Hall Tuesday Morning. Photo by Joseph Quigley, QNet News

OPP and other emergency responders, including an ambulance, were outside Quinte West City Hall after there was an alarm and lockdown Tuesday morning. Photo by Joseph Quigley, QNet News

By Joseph Quigley [1] and Nick Ogden [2]

TRENTON – An alarm at Quinte West City Hall [3] caused a lockdown of over an hour Tuesday morning, but no danger or threat was detected.

OPP and other emergency responders secured the building after the alarm was sounded at 10 a.m., barring anyone from exiting or entering. A full sweep of the building occurred as city staff and visitors – including a group of schoolchildren – were kept locked in their various offices and rooms.

But when no sign of anything dangerous was found in an extensive search, the lockdown was called off and business resumed at around 11:20 a.m.

Quinte West OPP [4] detachment Cmdr. Mike Reynolds said the cause for the alarm remains unknown.

“After a lengthy search of the facility, it has been determined that nothing has occurred here,” Reynolds said. “We’re now at the point now of trying to determine what caused the alarm.”

Reynolds added that the lockdown procedure was followed well and nobody was harmed.

“The system did work and we did respond appropriately to ensure the safeguard of the public and city employees,” he said. “Based on what I saw, I think things went quite well, but we will do a debrief to ensure we followed protocol and if there’s any best practice we can learn from the incident.”

Mayor Jim Harrison, who was in his office at city hall during the lockdown, told QNet News that someone may have pulled the alarm because they felt threatened.

“All kinds of things go through your mind in terms of what happened, and obviously the first thing is – that somebody was threatened,” Harrison said. “The second thing is there are a lot of people in and out of here every day for various reasons. Somebody might have been upset over something very simple and responded in a way that somebody felt was a threat.

“If that’s the case, we’ll sort it out, we’ll know. But right now, we’re quite pleased with the way it was handled, and everybody’s back to work.”

The investigation into the cause of the alarm is ongoing.

Nick Ogden reported live from the scene: