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Witnesses report hearing explosion at Sherwood Park community centre

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  • Witnesses report hearing explosion at Sherwood Park community centre

    RCMP*are responding to a fire at*Strathcona*County Community Centre in Sherwood Park. Witnesses who spoke to*CBC*News report hearing an*explosion at the building.‚Äč

    Chelsea*Thoen*was at the*Strathcona*County Library Tuesday night when she heard a "huge bang."*

    "The whole building was shaking and you could barely hear anything except for everything shaking," Thoen*said.*

    Thoen said alarms started going off and those in the library began evacuating the building. She told CBC*News*that a firefighter*told her to get out and "start running."

    Police have blocked off the roads in the area to investigate and are asking the public to stay away from the area due to safety concerns. The community centre complex contains*the county's council chambers as well as the library, meeting rooms and outdoor plazas.

    Chris Cummings's grandmother lives in*Bedford Village, which is very close to the community centre. He said he arrived around 7 p.m. and shortly after, he was told the building would need to evacuate due to a fire at the library.

    Cummings said he helped 15 to 20 seniors evacuate to nearby*St. Theresa Catholic School.

    "It was a pretty quick evacuation from what it looked like," said Cummings. "Some of them were just in their housecoats."

    Cummings said he expects the residents of the building won't be able to return tonight.*

    Lorne*Monaghan, principal at St. Theresa, said there are about 200 seniors at his school but most are in good spirits.**

    "They're playing cards, we've got some pizza in and got them some coffee," said Monaghan. "Don't know much about incident, but we've made it as smooth a night for them as we can."

    In a statement, Strathcona*County announced that the community centre will be closed Wednesday.

    "The safety of our community remains the top priority of Strathcona County Council and emergency responders"

    Both*St. Theresa school and Salisbury Composite High School also will be closed Wednesday.