Comox Valley Sports Centre in Courtenay evacuated Thursday night after ammonia leak

Comox Valley Sports Centre in Courtenay evacuated Thursday night after ammonia leak
People wait outside the Comox Valley Sports Centre after it was evacuated on Sept. 12, 2019.

The Comox Valley Sports Centre in Courtenay was evacuated Thursday night after an ammonia leak.

Capt. Jonathan Welsh with the Courtenay Fire Department said firefighters were called to the centre just after 8 p.m. after an alarm detected the leak. The facility — which has two arenas, a 25-metre pool, a sauna and a wellness centre/weight room — was still being evacuated when firefighters arrived on scene.

Welsh said the ammonia was sitting at 500 ppm when the alarm went off but the emergency shut off was used.

After levels dropped down due to ventilation, technicians entered the facility. Welsh said Arena 1 remained closed but patrons were allowed to enter the Arena 2 area to retrieve their items at around 9:30 p.m. They were escorted by firefighters.

The adults and children from the hockey team were also told they could wait until the next morning to come back to the arena.

“No injuries were reported to us,” Welsh said.,

The Comox Valley Regional District said Friday morning that the facility has now reopened.

According to the district, the leak was discovered in a high-pressure cut out at the safety monitor in the ammonia system. The district said refrigeration specialists inspected the system once the situation was resolved and deemed the facility safe to open.

The district added the system was serviced in July 2019 and the maintenance is up to date.

“Technical Safety BC and WorkSafeBC will conduct a follow-up investigation, which is standard protocol anytime an ammonia alarm is triggered,” the district said in a release.

In October 2017, three people died following an ammonia leak.  aa report by Technical Safety B.C. said the leak and deaths were due to the failure of aging equipment and poor operational and management decisions.

With files from CBC 




Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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