Quebec media outlets are reporting that what appeared to be a hostage situation at Ubisoft’s Montreal office was actually a hoax.
The situation started around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. Montreal police tweeted that there is an ongoing police operation at the corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and St-Viateur Avenue, in the city’s Mile End district, and requested that people avoid the area.
Montreal police told VICE World News the situation is ongoing but “some” Ubisoft employees have been evacuated from their office building. Both TVA Nouvelles and the Journal de Montreal have reported the situation was a hoax with Journal de Montreal citing a police source.
“Officers have been sent to this location following a 911 call,” a Montreal police spokesperson told VICE World News. “No information regarding a possible threat has been confirmed as of yet. Police officers specialized in this type of operation are currently inspecting the premises.”
No injuries have been reported. Police say the situation is ongoing.
Montreal police have cordoned off an area for two blocks in every direction and a tactical unit is on site. Video footage from TVA Nouvelles taken from a helicopter shows around 100 employees on the roof of the building. They have used furniture to barricade the doors but do not appear to be taking cover.
Dozens of students and neighbourhood residents stood outside the orange police tape as the operation continued Friday afternoon. Television screens in nearby apartments were tuned to live news coverage of the situation.
A sizable contingent of EMS personnel, including a staging ground, was also on scene, ostensibly for any possible injuries.
Other images on social media captured from the scene show multiple squad cars, a large sectioned off perimeter and police with long rifles.
The Montreal Gazette is reporting that Ubisoft staff were seen on the roof of the building. An employee who spoke to 98.5 fm said the barricaded employees on the roof were in good spirits.
A Ubisoft employee who did not want to be named told the Gazette that it’s unclear what is happening or how many employees are at the office at the moment.
Ubisoft employee Eric Pope tweeted that he was on a call with his coworkers when they abruptly hung up. Pope said he’s working from home.
Ubisoft, headquartered in Montreuil, France, has over 3,500 employees who work out of its Montreal office but how many of them would be physically there during the pandemic is unknown.
Montreal’s mayor Valérie Plante tweeted out that she is in “close communication with Montreal Police” and “are monitoring the situation closely.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.