Fernie Arena Ammonia Leak Kills 3

An ammonia leak at an arena in Fernie, B.C., had killed three and caused a state of emergency to be declared in the city.

– Fernie Memorial Arena
An interior view of Fernie Memorial Arena.

The city first announced on Oct. 17 that it was dealing with an ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena and that homes and businesses surrounding the area were being evacuated. A follow-up announcement shared that three fatalities had been confirmed and that the site was secure but crews were unable to enter the facility safely.

Finally, on the same day, a state of emergency was declared by Mayor Mary Giuliano due to the release of hazardous materials. This meant that city employees, servants and agents were “empowered … to do all acts and implement all procedures that are considered necessary to prevent or to alleviate the effects of the emergency” for seven days unless it was ordered to end sooner.

The three dead were all workers doing maintenance, CTV News Vancouver reported the mayor stating, and that two were locals. The number of residents displaced was approximately 25, CTV reported officials saying.

“We’ve suffered tragedies but we’re a pretty tight little town,” Giuliano told CTV. “I’m proud of our town. We’ll be there for one another.”

Fernie Memorial Arena is owned by the city and mostly functions as a skating rink. The venue’s website reports a capacity of 1,100 for spectator events.

Fernie has approximately 4,881 year-round residents and about 2,000 more outside the city.