Published: Wed, October 18, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Ammonia leak at Fernie arena leaves three dead, area evacuated

Ammonia leak at Fernie arena leaves three dead, area evacuated

Three people have been confirmed dead in Fernie, B.C., in connection with an ammonia leak at a hockey arena.

The city said further details about the victims will be released once they are identified and their next of kin are informed.

Highway 3, which runs behind the arena, remained open to traffic, but several streets were closed: 9th Street and 11th Street from the highway to 6th Avenue and 6th Avenue from 9th to 11th Streets.

More officers will be at the scene on Wednesday, once Fernie RCMP have completed their investigation.

The fire department responded to the rink around noon, she said, after three workers reportedly died from being exposed to a leak of ammonia, a colourless gas used in refrigeration systems that is toxic and potentially fatal if inhaled. The city said a Hazmat team from CIMCO Refrigeration was heading to the arena to deal with the situation.

"We're still concerned about some ammonia leaking into the environment", he said. The centre also says symptoms may develop hours after exposure and are made worse by physical effort.

The Fernie arena was closed Tuesday for emergency repairs to its refrigeration plant. Fire chief Ruiter said it wasn't immediately apparent that ammonia was the cause of the emergency.

The Fernie Memorial Arena is home to the Junior B Fernie Ghostriders and is also listed as available for public skates and ice rentals.

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