CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The Veterans Affairs Canada headquarters in Charlottetown was evacuated this morning after a faint smell of smoke was detected.
Charlottetown Deputy Fire Chief Tim Mamye says firefighters were called to the Daniel J. MacDonald building on Kent Street at about 9:30.
“After sourcing everything out there was a faint smell but nothing showing,’’ he says.
“Very faint smell of smoke was the originating call. It was more just a precaution to pull the alarm to get us down here.’’
Hundreds of employees were evacuated for approximately 30 minutes.
Mamye says the cause of the smoke was not determined.
Elevator staff was called in as were the sprinkler and alarm companies to ensure all systems were working properly.
A major upgrade is planned for the building.
A contract is expected to be awarded in the coming weeks for planning and design work, which will begin in 2018.
Construction will likely begin in January 2020 and take about three years to complete, Jon Stone, communications adviser with Public Services and Procurement Canada, told The Guardian in October.
An overhaul of the mechanical and electrical systems, a complete redesign of office layout and safety equipment upgrade is expected to easily cost tens of millions of dollars, Stone noted.
Roughly 750 people work at the headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada, which is responsible for pensions, benefits and services for war veterans, retired and still-serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and their families, as well as some civilians.