EVENING UPDATE: Investigation into Fernie BC arena ammonia leak continues as evacuation remains in place

City of Fernie BC emergency responders were able to enter the Memorial Arena early this morning to recover the remaining two workers who died earlier this week as a result of an ammonia leak in the facility. 

Evening Update: Fernie Memorial Arena Ammonia

The City of Fernie is reminding residents that, to ensure their safety, the evacuation order around the Fernie Memorial Arena remains in effect and Emergency Social Services have arranged accommodations for evacuees for as long as is necessary.

The Emergency Response team continues working together to ensure safe conditions prior to allowing officials entry into the building to fully assess the situation and move the investigation forward.  At this time there is no new information to report.

Specialists from the Provincial Disaster Psychosocial Program will be arriving in Fernie this evening and offering services to affected families, and workers & volunteers responding to the emergency, as well as all residents.  Anyone who feels they need assistance to help deal with grief and stress is encouraged to use this free service which will be available as of Friday morning by calling 250-489-9677.  The temporary office will be located at College of the Rockies 342 – 2nd Avenue.

City Hall and Public Works will be closing all operations tomorrow October 20, 2017.

Thursday morning update…

City of Fernie BC emergency responders were able to enter the Memorial Arena early this morning to recover the remaining two workers who died earlier this week as a result of an ammonia leak in the facility. 

“Ventilation continued throughout the night and we reached a point at approximately 11PM where we determined recovery could commence. A trial run was completed to ensure no barriers would hamper the recovery and that the response team would not be put in any further danger. Once this was confirmed, we were able to recover the victims,” explains Fernie Fire and Rescue Chief Ted Ruiter.

“Getting the evacuated residents home remains our priority however we need to make sure we get them home safely,” adds Ruiter. “The first step will be getting a good understanding of what we’re dealing with.  Once that piece is in place we will have a better idea of a time line on the evacuation order.”  Work continues this afternoon to stabilize the situation to allow for safe access to the arena. At this time, the evacuation order remains in effect.

The Reception Centre remains open at the Senior Citizens Drop-In Centre and accommodations are being provided at a local hotel for the approximately 95 residents, who have been evacuated from their homes since Tuesday.

The City of Fernie met with its employees yesterday and is offering a number of support services. An Employee Family Assistance Program has been established to provide long term support for those who need it and a specialized team of Provincial grief counsellors is enroute to Fernie to provide support services to not only City of Fernie staff, but to any resident needing support during this difficult time.  More details will be provided on how to access these resources once the team arrives.

The City has announced it will be closing all of its operations tomorrow, including City Hall, and they will remain closed through the weekend.

An information line with a recorded message detailing the latest information has been set up at 1-855-346-2188.

City Hall Closed October 20, 2017

City Hall, City Works Yard, Fernie Memorial Arena, the Curling Club, the Community Centre, and the Fernie Aquatic Centre will be closed on Friday, October 20, 2017 and remain closed through the weekend.

Update: Fernie Memorial Arena Ammonia Leak

At least 3 die following ammonia leak in Fernie BC