Fernie Memorial Arena Incident Update
July 25, 2018
Today Technical Safety BC released its report regarding the October 17, 2017 ammonia leak at the Fernie Memorial Arena. It is the first report released by the agencies investigating the incident.
“As a City we value and are committed to the health and safety of our employees and community members. The ammonia leak, and the subsequent loss of our valued colleagues, is one of the most tragic incidents to happen to our community. We still feel their absence deeply” said City of Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano. “Despite working with an approved certification for our system at the time of the incident, today’s report points to opportunities to further improve safety standards for arena refrigeration plants, not only for Fernie but for communities across British Columbia so no one else will need to experience a similar tragedy.”
Immediately following the incident, Technical Safety BC put in place additional regulations for testing and monitoring arena refrigeration plants, resulting in a number of rinks in B.C. discovering problems that might have become dangerous. The report outlines 18 recommendations to improve safety with refrigeration systems.
“The report indicates this is the first known example of an incident like this happening, where the ammonia leaked into a secondary coolant (the brine), leading to a pressure build up and failure of the pipe and then the rapid release of ammonia,” said Giuliano. “There is much the entire industry can learn from this to prevent such an accident in the future, and we will support this learning in whatever way we can.”
Technical Safety BC is an independent organization that serves as a provincial regulator of technical systems and equipment across the province including refrigeration plants used in arenas. In addition to issuing permits, licenses and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks.
Technical Safety BC Report