According to study released by Technical Safety BC, there were 10 incidents involving the release of ammonia at arenas between 2007 and 2017. In those 10 cases, there were 18 reported injuries. (Technical Safety BC graph)

Civic centre ammonia incident one of numerous cases occurring in B.C. since 2007

There were 10 arena ammonia release incidents reported to Technical Safety BC between 2007 and 2017

Prince Rupert is the latest in a list cities where individuals have been injured as a result of exposure to ammonia at an arena or recreational facility.

READ MORE: Two taken to hospital after ammonia leak at recreation centre

According to a case study released by Technical Safety BC, there were 59 cases of ammonia release incidents reported to the organization between 2007 and 2017.

Of those 59 cases, 14 of those incidents resulted injury, 10 of which took place either at an arena or recreational facility.

These incidents range in their cause and severity from minor incidents to major ones, such as the October 2017 ammonia release in Fernie where three workers died after exposure in the arena’s mechanical room.

Jean-Paul Lacoursiere, a former professor of industrial risk management at the University of Sherbrook, said the potential risk of concentrated ammonia exposure is why there are strict rules governing its storage and the storage of other refrigerants.

“Normally the refrigeration equipment is housed inside a mechanical room,” said Lacoursiere. “This room is leak proof and has to be tested to be leak proof to make sure that gases won’t go into the arena if there is a leak.”

Lacoursiere added that vertical ventilation is an important requirement of ammonia storage as leaks can be very dangerous. Ammonia, which is a heavy gas, sinks to the ground and can travel 300-500 metres depending on how much is released into the environment.

Lacoursiere said if the concentration of ammonia in the atmosphere exceeds a certain threshold, it can kill or cause physical harm.

“That’s why it’s important to ensure that you don’t have that gas on the ground,” he said.

After the Fernie incident, the City of Prince Rupert stated that the civic centre’s facilities had undergone recent risk assessments and were regularly audited by Technical Safety BC “…to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to maintain equipment and keep patrons safe.”

In the time since the July 4 incident at the civic centre, the tank that leaked has been removed from the civic centre grounds and WorkSafeBC has been on site conducting an investigation.

READ MORE: Hockey arena is safe despite ammonia use

In an emailed statement, the city said they have ensured that all remaining ammonia has safely been stored to prevent further incident and they are taking steps to ensure another incident does not take place.

“Our task now is to determine why this incident occurred, and to integrate all findings into future practices regarding ammonia storage,” said city communications manager, Veronika Stewart, in the email. “Despite this incident, we do remain confident in our ammonia alarm system and emergency evacuation procedures, which were both effective in fully evacuating our facility during the incident.”



matthew.allen@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Prince Rupert Diamond Diggers win 2018 Queens tournament

The team went 7-0 and scored 12 runs or more on their way to the tournament win

Add fun to your kid’s reading list this summer

Prince Rupert Regional Library’s free programs are making summer reading fun for kids of all ages

Chris Green, mother of Prince Rupert’s scouts, passes away

Green spent more than 60 years volunteering and leading Prince Rupert’s Scouts Canada program

Gitga’at First Nation student receives national award

Spencer Greening’s thesis is based on Indigenous expressions of history

WEB POLL: Are you going to the Intertidal Music Festival this Saturday?

North Pacific Cannery hosts more than 20 performances July 21

Rushbrook Trail officially open

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 14 to officially unveil the new trail to the public

Newspaper carriers wanted!

Contact The Northern View today to find out how you can become a part of our team

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Critics claim Trump “defended a tyrant”

Trump questions US intel, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling

B.C. MLAs choose new children’s watchdog

Jennifer Charlesworth has worked in government, social services

B.C. reporter calls out immigration photo on social media as fake news

A Vancouver reporter is calling out a British politician for spreading fake news

Most Read