A house on Llanberis Way in Popkum goes up in flames Thursday evening.

IHIT takes over on Popkum explosion

Guns, explosion rock quiet rural neighbourhood near Agassiz

by  Jessica Peters – Black Press

A tragic scene played out in the small community of Popkum Thursday evening, that began with a standoff and ended with an explosion.

Police set up a 150 metre perimeter around a home on Llanberris Way, near the former site of Minter Gardens east of Chilliwack. At about 5 p.m., multiple police units closed off the street, which is filled with beautiful homes, and manicured lawns.

There is little information available from the RCMP at this time about what began the standoff. And while there has been no official word on fatalities, the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team (IHIT) has been brought in.

Gunfire had been reported early on in the evening. While the house was surrounded, neighbours arriving home were kept a fair distance away, at about 150 metres. Those in neighbouring homes were told to stay indoors, while dozens of people gathered around the perimeter.

An assault vehicle arrived, and quickly offloaded several responders before driving up a driveway.

There were five distinctive shots, coming about a minute apart, at about 7 p.m. A K9 unit arrived and police and ERT members moved around the property swiftly.

And then, the house exploded with what at first sounded like a high-calibre shotgun. Seconds later, black smoke swirled from the home, which is on the west side of Llanberris Way, and several houses down. Agassiz and Popkum firefighters responded quickly to the fire, which quickly engulfed the home. Some of the people watching from Yale Road were in contact with family members in homes that were locked down, ensuring they were still safe. Others expressed concern for the neighbouring homes, in what is a fairly built up street surrounded by plenty of trees that could help spread flames.

It is not yet known what led to the standoff, who was inside the home, and whether anybody, including police were injured or killed in the incident.

As of Friday morning, police were still in the neighbourhood with a perimeter blocked off down the street. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has taken over the lead on the case.

Watch www.agassizharrisonobserver.com for more information as it becomes available.