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RCMP investigating toxic substance found near South Arm Park trees

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:16 PDT, Mon June 14, 2021

Richmond RCMP is investigating after a toxic substance was found around some trees in South Arm Park.

A resident reported finding a number of dead and sick squirrels in the area last week. City staff and Richmond Fire-Rescue crews cordoned off all possibly affected areas for public safety.

Fire-Rescue crews identified the substance as 1-Octanethiol, a compound used in the production of other chemicals which can be dangerous to people and animals if not handled correctly. An environmental clean-up team safely removed the substance, and the park remains open to the public.

“The origin of the toxin is still under investigation,” says Cpl. Ian Henderson of the Richmond RCMP. “Fortunately the resident recognized something was wrong when she started seeing a number of dead and sick squirrels. We have not received any reports of people or family pets falling ill, nor have there been any other instances reported in other city parks at this time. Richmond RCMP and the City of Richmond are putting out this public warning to ensure residents, particularly pet owners, to be aware and keep an eye out for anything suspicious, including multiple dead or sick wildlife in a concentrated area.”

“How and why this toxic material ended up here is still under investigation. Whether it was placed in specific locations intentionally or simply dumped in the park, this substance has no place here, and our investigators are working to determine who was responsible,” says Henderson.

Richmond RCMP is encouraging the public to be vigilant in local parks, and to report suspicious activity to police immediately. Anyone who happens to witness someone placing a substance at the base of trees in the park is urged to contact the Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212, quoting file number 21-15615.

Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit them online at www.solvecrime.ca.

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