B.C. Place Deflated

Work to repair damage to B.C. Place Stadium’s dome roof has begun following a storm that caused an initial gaping tear in its roof’s teflon-covered fabric January 5th.

Heavy rain and winds took their toll on the Vancouver dome, causing a reported 23-foot gash that began to grow. Amid fears of a collapse of the air-supported roof, officials performed the first controlled deflation in the 60,000-seat venue’s history.

B.C. Place GM Howard Crosley said at a press conference that officials were not sure exactly what caused the first rip.

Reports surrounding the incident suggested the heavy sleet that fell during the storm had been too heavy for the structure, causing the tear, but Crosley disagreed.

"When there is a fear of snow we start to slowly heat the outer membrane by pumping steam up into that area and gently raising the temperature," Crosley said. "There were no accumulations on the roof that required us to go into full snow-melt mode."

A new panel will replace the torn section of the dome.

Three smaller rips were also found in the dome following inspections, although Crosley said that damage may not require replacement panels and could possibly be repaired.

Along with the roof damage, water leaked into the stadium through the tears and had to be pumped out, although damage to the inside of the facility was minimal, he said.

Estimates of the costs to repair the provincial government-owned facility were not determined yet, Crosley told the Vancouver Sun.

"We don’t have any cost estimates at this point in time. We are talking to our insurers about covering the costs," he said.

The venue, which is the largest air-supported stadium in the world, has hosted concerts by The Rolling Stones, KISS, and U2. It is set to be the site for the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics.