Explosives seized near Qualicum Beach, detonated in Dashwood

The blasts rocked unsuspecting residents and visitors alike; police providing few details about seizure

Shawnigan Lake residents Daniel and Karen Burgess were in their RV Tuesday night at a campground near the Little Qualicum River when the evening was interrupted by loud explosions.

“It rocked our RV,” said Daniel. “It was terrifying.”

Police have confirmed explosives found in a rural area of Qualicum Beach were detonated Tuesday night in Dashwood by the RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit from the Lower Mainland.

The explosives were found at 3 p.m. Tuesday when police were investigating an unrelated incident, said Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman. He also said no charges had been laid as of Wednesday afternoon.

The “scene showed us a freezer full of explosives,” he said.

According to a news release issued by the Oceanside RCMP, the freezer was  “full of dynamite and detonator assemblies.”

Foreman said the local RCMP does not have the capability to detonate the explosives, so they had to wait for the unit to arrive from the Lower Mainland.

The explosives were detonated at approximately 10 p.m. behind Dashwood Fire Hall

No. 2.

“Due to the urgency of the matter, the general public was not able to be advance notified about the blasts leaving many people wondering what was transpiring,” said the RCMP release. “The blasts were made in the safest controlled environment available to EDU. At no time was the public in danger.”

It took five explosions to destroy the explosives, said Foreman.

“We thought it was a propane explosion,” said Daniel Burgess. “We were worried it could start a fire.”

— with contributions from Carli Berry

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