Home hit by thieves twice in four days

An Eber Road residence was recently hit with two thefts over a 4-day period.

Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP said a bicycle was taken from the residence over the Ukee Days weekend. The bike is described as a ladies Apollo with red and blue markings.

An orange single-person kayak named ‘Ocean Frenzie’ was taken from the same residence on Tuesday sometime around the West Coast’s middle-of-the-night power outage, according to Swann.

“The (victim) is a long term resident; they’ve essentially lived most of their life here and it’s the first time they’ve ever had something stolen from them,” he said.

While the two thefts occurred at the same residence, Swann does not believe they are linked.

He is confident the bicycle will resurface but does not believe the kayak will be retrieved.

“The bike was probably something that happens where it’s a ‘borrowed’ bike; somebody sees a bike when they’re coming home from the bar and need a ride home so they take the bike. I’m pretty confident the bike will turn up,” he said.

“The kayak is probably more of a crime of opportunity…I doubt we’ll see it again.”

He said police currently have no suspects and no witnesses have come forward.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the detachment at 250-726-7773.

Swann said theft is rare in Ucluelet but that does not mean it is not a concern and he urges residents to lock up their belongings and keep things out of sight from the road.

“We are lucky we don’t get many thefts, but we’re lucky that we don’t get more and so people need to be reminded that, yes, we’re in a small town and, yes, we’re in Ucluelet and we don’t experience theft a lot but when it happens to you, you’re the victim of it and you don’t get those items back typically.”

No injuries during downtown evacuation Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP was thrilled to report zero injuries occurred during last week’s ammonia leak at Ucluelet Harbour Seafoods.

“There were absolutely no injuries. I can’t say enough how proud I was of the fire department and the department of public works,” he said. “(Emergency services manager) Karla Robison and the crew just came together and the communication was second to none…it went pretty slick.”

He said at around 11:30 a.m. liquefied ammonia was found leaking from the fish plant and this ammonia became vapour as it contacted the air.

Ammonia vapour can explode if ignited and inhaling the gas can cause significant health concerns like burns to the throat and mouth.

Swann said emergency responders did not initially know how much ammonia had leaked so they could not immediately determine the size of the danger zone but chose to play it safe and evacuate the area downwind from UHS with a roughly 500 foot radius.

This area consisted of Ucluelet’s downtown core including the Ucluelet Aquarium and the district office.

While the fire department and public works team evacuated the area, Swann took to the water to prevent any boaters from sailing into harms way.

“I took out our police boat and began quartering off an area around Lyche Island, which is just off of the harbour in front of UHS, making sure no vessels were in that area,” he said.

Swann was joined on the water by the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue team.

“They came out and assisted and there was a broadcast put out on the Tofino Coast Guard radio that the Harbour was closed; we stopped the Frances Barkley we stopped the Canadian Princess boats and all the other boats,” he said.

After getting visitors and locals out of the downtown area, Swann said Ucluelet’s volunteer fire crew hit the vapour with heavy ventilation equipment. “They had some big fans and the more oxygen and air you blow onto (ammonia) the faster it dissipates into the air,” he said.

“We had a beautiful breeze coming through there that was dissipating it quickly as opposed to it sitting in one area and just hanging and lingering.”

Swann added that he is “100 per cent confident,” no ammonia remained when downtown was reopened about three hours after the leak was reported.

reporter@westerlynews.ca