Two city workers and one out-of-town contractor have been identified as those killed after a suspected ammonia leak at the Fernie Memorial Arena.
Mayor Mary Giuliano told reporters during a news conference Wednesday that the names of the victims will not be released. A local state of emergency will remain in effect until Oct. 24.
“Fernie is a tight knit community, and I know we will pull together like we have in the past,” Giuliano said, adding support has been arranged for the families involved.
The arena was closed Tuesday for repairs to the refrigeration service, according to a statement from the city.
Reports of the ammonia leak came in at about 11:30 a.m. Firefighters arrived at the arena to find one person who was taken to hospital after receiving CPR. Two others were discovered shortly after, and the area was evacuated.
Fernie Fire crews evacuated from the arena due to hazardous materials. Suspected the material was Anhydrous ammonia used in refrigeration— The Free Press (@FernieFreePress) October 18, 2017
A Hazmat team from Calgary remains on scene, where the ice rink has been secured but the leak has not. The evacuation order is in effect until further notice.
“Yesterday was an extremely difficult day for all of us,” Fire Chief Ted Ruiter said. Additional resources have arrived from other parts of B.C. and Alberta, he added, to develop a plan to get back into the facility.
Police are still investigating, including conducting witness interviews and examining the scene. WorkSafeBC has also deployed three investigators to the town of roughly 5,000 people.