Around 7:25 am Sunday, the Canadian province of Ontario sent out a mass alert notifying residents of an "incident" at Pickering nuclear power station near Toronto, reported CP24 Toronto.
"Emergency staff are responding to the situation," the alert read, which was sent to cells phones across the province.
It went on to say, "There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station…People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time."
About an hour later, a retraction alert was tweeted by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), followed up by a 9 am mass text telling residents that the incident at Pickering was a false alarm.
Important update: the alert regarding #Pickering Nuclear was sent in error. There is no danger to the public or environment.— Ontario Power Gen (@opg) January 12, 2020
"There is no danger to the public, there was no radiological event and what I can tell you is that we are working with the province to investigate what happened," OPG spokesperson O'Neal Kelly told CP24.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who oversees and runs the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, said the false alarm was a routine internal training exercise that was accidentally released to the public.
Please see my statement in response to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station emergency alert. There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment. pic.twitter.com/F9dnQCCWgD— Sylvia Jones (@SylviaJonesMPP) January 12, 2020
"There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered the public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment," Jones said.
Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan tweeted Sunday that he was "very surprised" when he received the alert, but quickly discovered it was sent by error.
Like many of you, I was very troubled to have received that emergency alert this morning. While I am relieved that there was no actual emergency, I am upset that an error such as this occurred. I have spoken to the Province, and am demanding that a full investigation take place.— Mayor Dave Ryan (@mayordaveryan) January 12, 2020
"I'm very angry and very concerned that this has occurred," Ryan told Global News.
"We've demanded a full investigation and I've had confirmation from our local MPP that an investigation will be undertaken. We'll understand what has happened, why, how and what's going to be done to ensure it doesn't happen again."
And the last time a major municipality made a communications error and alerted citizens of Armageddon was several years ago in Hawaii when officials said the island was under ballistic missile attack.