Emergency crews were called to the rail yard in Castlegar Friday morning when a Canadian Pacific tank car was seen venting argon gas.
The Castlegar Fire Department, RCMP and CP staff responded to the incident.
According to CP, the tank car was venting as it was designed to do in order to release pressure.
Even though a shelter-in-place order was issued at the time, CP says there were no risks to the public at any time.
According to Castlegar deputy fire chief Nick Ahlefeld the shelter order covered an area of 100 metres from the car.
The fire department took oxygen readings around the area, including low-lying areas as argon is heavier than oxygen in its vapour state.
“Everything was perfect, it never dipped once, so we felt comfortable,” said Ahlefeld.
In response to inquiries from the Castlegar News, CP provided the following statement: “CP appreciates the assistance of the Castlegar Fire Department in handling this situation and regrets any inconvenience this may have caused residents.”
Argon is an inert gas found naturally in the atmosphere. Some of its uses include arc welding and fluorescent tubes. The gas can be an asphyxiant to anyone in the vapour cloud as it displaces oxygen. One other possible danger is frostbite as the gas is refrigerated for transportation.