Ammonia leak at arena in Fernie, BC draws emergency response

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Police, fire, paramedics and WorkSafe BC investigators were on scene at the Fernie Memorial Arena after the leak was reported shortly before noon on Tuesday.

An apparent ammonia leak at an arena in Fernie has killed three workers who were repairing the refrigeration plant at the municipal ice rink.

The website said no further details are available pending identification and notification of next of kin. "We're a small city and everybody knows each other".

The city said that CIMCO Refrigeration was on the scene assisting emergency crews and was working to acquire additional specialised resources to deal with the hazardous situation.

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RCMP and fire crews evacuated numerous homes and businesses in the vicinity of the arena, including a retirement home.

"We're still concerned about some ammonia leaking into the environment", he said.

The latest information from the city says the site has been contained, but crews are still unable to safely enter the arena.

Ammonia is a colourless gas often used as an industrial refrigerant which has can be immediately risky to life or health. Ammonia is used as a refrigerant for ice arenas and other large refrigeration systems. The centre also says symptoms may develop hours after exposure and are made worse by physical effort.

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