NEWS

Grand Desert evacuation linked to Christopher Phillips lifted

01/24/2015 03:58 EST | Updated 03/26/2015 05:59 EDT
RCMP say an evacuation order affecting homes in Grand Desert, N.S., has been lifted Saturday evening after a hazardous materials team spent days removing chemicals from a cottage linked to suspect Christopher Phillips.

The team and RCMP officers have been working at the cottage since Tuesday.

As of 4 p.m. AT, the RCMP had removed all of the chemicals out of the cottage, but there is still more work to be completed before they leave.

"Emergency responders and chemists have worked diligently to identify and safely seal or remove any hazardous and volatile chemicals from the scene. There is no threat to public safety at the Dyke Rd. scene," said an RCMP release late Saturday.

Nova Scotia RCMP had found unlabelled chemicals packed floor to ceiling in the cottage. Chief Supt. Roland Wells said investigators have never come across a scene like this before.

"I don't think any of us have ever seen this volume of chemicals or chemicals in this state. It's very volatile, appearing to be degrading in some respects," he said on Friday.

Phillips faces charges of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and uttering threats. He will be back in court on Thursday.

Phillips, 42, appeared in court Friday in Halifax. He’s charged with uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Dangerous weapon charge

Police said the dangerous weapon charge against Phillips relates to the chemical osmium tetroxide.

The Crown attorney in the case has asked for a psychiatric assessment.

Court documents from the U.S. suggest Phillips has a history of addiction and mental illness.

According to documents filed in Washington state, Phillips served in the navy during the 1990s. While serving in 1992 he injured his feet and required several surgeries. The documents say Phillips was receiving monthly veterans disability benefits of $3,750.

Phillips is an American-trained doctor, with degrees from Oklahoma and Boston. He practised as an ophthalmologist and owned an eye-care clinic in Washington state starting in 2007. Complaints were brought against Phillips by at least five patients.

As of 2010, Phillips was no longer licensed to practice medicine in Washington.

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