Today marked two years since the tragic ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena. The City of Fernie lowered their flags to half mast in remembrance. City of Fernie/Facebook

Two years later, City of Fernie remembers

Oct. 17, 2019 marks two years since the tragic ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena

Today the City of Fernie (COF) gathered to remember the three men lost two years ago in an ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena.

COF interim CAO Don Schaffer said the loss of Wayne Hornquist, Lloyd Smith and Jason Podloski is felt every day at their organization.

This morning the City’s facilities were closed for an hour, and flags were lowered to half mast.

“It was important for all of us to close our facilities this morning and take time to remember them,” said Schaffer.

In the years since the event, Schaffer explained that the City has made significant changes to the operation of Fernie Memorial Arena.

One year ago, the arena was reopened with a new refrigeration plant that is housed outside the main building, and uses a synthetic refrigerant instead of ammonia.

Following their investigation into the Fernie incident, Technical Safety BC released 18 recommendations for arena owners, maintenance contractors, local B.C. governments, and training providers to prevent a repeat of the tragedy. They also offered a number of educational programs to augment skills and knowledge about the dangers of ammonia releases.

The organization commented on the two-year anniversary, saying they continue to emphasize the need for continued safety enhancements across industry. This, they say, reduces the potential for ammonia release incidents.

“Safety is a shared responsibility that we take very seriously,” said Technical Safety BC President and CEO, Catherine Roome.

“While the owners of these facilities are ultimately responsible for the ongoing maintenance and replacement of their equipment and ensuring their staff are trained appropriately, we have technical expertise and supporting data that can be used to help these organizations mitigate risk. We are here to support with education, resources, and training.”

City of Fernie mayor Ange Qualizza said the City supports Technical Safety BC in their continued efforts to improve safety standards for arena refrigeration plants across the Province.

“What happened in Fernie was heartbreaking for all of us,” said Qualizza. “We lost three men on Oct. 17, 2017, and the work of Technical Safety BC will ensure the lessons learned in Fernie will prevent other communities from going through a similar tragedy.”

Look back: Hundreds attend community memorial



editor@thefreepress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Castlegar musician holding benefit launch party

Steve Marc is releasing his album Feb 21

Supreme Court of Canada will hear Sinixt appeal May 12

B.C. has appealed aboriginal hunting case through several levels of court starting in Nelson in 2016

Burglar swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Take a dip and raise money for a critical Greater Trail cause

The hospice society’s Swimathon goes March 5 in the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Shuttle service at Trail hospital will remain for now

“ … shuttle service will remain in place while work on the new drop-off area … continues.”

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read