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

The mandate is in keeping with recommendations made by Dr. Bonnie Henry. (CSRD photo)
Mask use now required at CSRD office, public facilities

The mandate comes after Dr. Bonnie Henry strongly recommended their use

Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Black Press file photo
Golden/Field crime rate drops for fourth straight year

The decrease was reported by Stats Canada, who recently released their yearly crime stats for B.C.

Dr. Trina Larsen Soles recommends cotton face coverings, as they are the most effective. (Claire Palmer photo)
Golden’s physicians warn of second wave

It is now expected that everyone wear a mask while indoors in public places

Morgues.
Morning Start: Cruise ships have their own morgues

Your morning start for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

Vernon Council voted in favour of implementing a 500-metre buffer between all new cannabis stores in the city at its meeting Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Black Press files)
New cannabis shops in Vernon will need to stay 500m apart

The distancing rule won’t apply to existing stores, including the six currently in downtown core

A fundraising initiative has been set up to help Mirjana Komljenovic, who has been diagnosed with Hermansky Pudlak Syndome and requires $2,000 a month to cover the costs of her medication. (gofundme.com)
Fundraiser created to help Summerland woman with rare condition

Mirjana Komljenovic requires costly medication to treat Hermansky Pudlak Syndome

Heather Pescada is Ms. Halloween and when COVID threatened to ruin her haunted fun, she got creative, inventing a six foot candy chute at her Summerland, Trout Creek home.
(Peskelly Family Facebook page)
Okanagan Halloween house invents huge candy chute

The six foot chute looks like the snake from Nightmare Before Christmas

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Most Read