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

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Headlamps 101

Few drivers get their vehicle headlamps aimed, yet this is important

(Pixabay)
B.C. seniors advocay groups responds to election platforms

BC Seniors Living Assn is dedicated to being a valuable source for development, education and growth

On Remembrance Day this year, many Canadians will be reflecting on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Among those will be war amputee veteran Bob Gondek (pictured), who served alongside the Allied Forces with the 2nd Polish Corps during the Italian Campaign. In 1944, Bob was based outside Loretto, Italy when heavy gun fire broke out, resulting in the loss of part of his left arm below the elbow. Bob immigrated to Canada where he became a member of The War Amps, an association originally started by amputee veterans returning from the First World War to help each other adapt to their new reality as amputees. For the last 50 years on Remembrance Day, Bob has laid a wreath to honour his comrades and pay tribute to all those who lost their lives. Photo: War Amps
Second World War veteran shares story of service, loss of limb

For 50 years, Bob has laid a wreath to pay tribute to all those who lost their lives.

Cam Hope has been hired as the new CEO of BC Hockey and will begin his tenure on Monday, Oct. 26.  Photo: Jim Bailey.
BC Hockey names new CEO

Former Victoria Royals president, Cam Hope, to lead BC Hockey into next decade

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health sees 31 new cases of COVID-19 over record-breaking weekend

Eighty-six cases remain active and one person is hospitalized with the virus

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Most Read