Emergency personnel respond in force to Save-On-Foods in Port Alberni after a distraught male inside forced the evacuation of the grocery store on Thursday (Sept. 5, 2019). JERRY FEVENS PHOTO

Port Alberni grocery store evacuated after distraught male causes problems inside

‘Police incident’ at 10th Avenue store forces patrons, employees into parking lot

Save-On-Foods in Port Alberni was evacuated on Thursday evening (Sept. 5) due to a man acting “erratically,” according to RCMP.

First responders, an ambulance and at least six police cars responded to the store around dinnertime on Thursday, Sept. 5. The store was evacuated and people could be seen standing around the parking lot waiting as emergency personnel dealt with the situation.

Devyn Leuchter pulled into the parking lot at Save-On-Foods at about 6:15 p.m. to go grocery shopping and saw all the emergency vehicles. No one was being permitted back into the store.

According to Port Alberni RCMP, a lone and distraught shirtless male entered into a staff-only area of the business and locked himself in a room. Reports of the smoke from the room were received, but the source of the smoke was unknown.

RCMP members made contact with the male and attempted to defuse the situation—however, they were unsuccessful. The man “remained aggressive, uncooperative and resisted arrest,” said RCMP.

The fire department and ambulance were initially called to Save-On-Foods for a first responder call—usually someone who needs medical attention—and were asked to wait before entering the 10th Avenue store.

“It was a police incident that came to us as a first responder call,” said Port Alberni Fire Department fire chief Mike Owens. “They had an individual inside the store that needed police attention, then medical attention.”

RCMP members, assisted by the Port Alberni Police Dog Service, were able to arrest the man, who was then treated for injuries incurred during the course of his arrest. The man appeared in court on Friday.

A manager for Save-On-Foods told an AV News reporter they would not be releasing a statement.

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Devyn Leuchter went to Save-On-Foods to go grocery shopping at about 6:15 p.m. Thursday only to discover police in the parking lot and the store closed. DEVYN LEUCHTER PHOTO

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