(Village of Lumby photo)

Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes Lumby residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren't sure what caused the explosion-like sound

  • Nov. 27, 2020 12:00 a.m.

As many as 100 residents in the Lumby area have reported hearing a sudden, deafening noise last Friday just after 12 p.m.

And so far, nobody seems to know for sure what caused it.

Rob Blake said the noise sounded like a loud explosion, in a post on the Around the Block Lumby Facebook page around 12:10 p.m., Nov. 27.

“It was like a volcano erupted,” Blake said.

“Did anyone just hear that big boom, Creighton Valley Road,” he wrote.

Since then, the post has racked up more than 125 comments, with people reporting they heard the sound from various locations in the area.

Some said they heard the loud ‘boom’ from the Harris Creek Road area, or felt a tremor on Valeview. Others reported hearing the sound from as far away as Lavington, Cherryville and Vernon.

Earthquakes Canada seismologist Camille Brillon said the agency hasn’t seen any signs of an earthquake in the Lumby area around the reported time.

She said it’s possible an earthquake was too small to register at the nearest seismograph.

On Tuesday, seismologist Joseph Farrugia also said there were no signs of an earthquake, and added the agency’s seismic equipment can pick up earthquakes below magnitude one.

“They’re pretty small, not ones that you’d usually feel but our sensitive equipment can pick them up,” he said.

Melanie Wenzoski, Lumby’s manager of corporate services, also said she heard the boom while outside for a walk, but said there is nothing in the village’s operations schedule – such as blasting or construction – that could account for it.

“It sounded like an explosion,” Wenzoski said, saying the sound reminded her of large metal I-beams crashing together.

“But we have no construction like that going on here right now,” she added.

Several years ago, residents felt the effects of a deep-ground sonic boom. Wenzoski recalls hearing the sound of that earthquake, too, which to her sounded like a train crash.

“This today didn’t quite sound like that,” she said. “The sound came from the south, just south of the village office, so it could have been anywhere in the industrial park.”

No power outages were reported in the area, and no reports of smoke or other visible traces of an explosion were reported either.

Tolko Industries communications advisor Chris Downey said neither of lumber company’s Lumby or Lavington plants had any operations going on that could have explained the noise.

There are also no current projects listed in the area on the B.C. Ministry of Transportation’s ProjectsBC webpage.

The Morning Star reached out to the local RCMP, the Lumby Fire Department and Emergency Management BC to see if emergency officials know what triggered the ‘boom,’ but none had any information on the incident as of Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The Regional District of North Okanagan’s planning and building department suggested it could have been rock blasting, and an RDNO building inspector went to the Harris Creek Road area Wednesday to check for signs of construction.

The ministry of forests was contacted, but spokesperson Tyler Hooper said the province was not doing any rock blasting in the area.

Residents who feel an earthquake can report it to Earthquakes Canada using the felt report form, which helps the agency track the extent of shaking and damage for earthquakes in Canada.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

READ MORE: 4.1 magnitude earthquake detected near Haida Gwaii

READ MORE: Lumby bylaw complaints skyrocket in 2020


Brendan Shykora

Reporter, Vernon Morning Star

Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com

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