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2012-12-27 at 08:18

Area arena treated like disaster area after ammonia leak discovered

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THUNDER BAY -- The NorWest Arena in Stanley was being treated like a disaster zone Wednesday after a chemical leak forced fire crews to take emergency action.

The incident was reported just after 1 p.m. A maintenance person working at the arena on Highway 588 reported a leak of ammonia.

There's no word on how large the leak was, but the Oliver Paipoonge fire department declared a state of emergency, and requested help from Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue.

Deputy Chief Greg Hankkio

"Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue was requested by Oliver Paipoonge to respond to a report of an anhydrous ammonia leak at their arena," Deputy Chief Greg Hankkio said during an interview with Thunder Bay Television. 

"So through the proper process, through the emergency operation centre, through the District of Thunder Bay fire co-ordinator and the fire marshall's office has given us permission to respond with our level two hazmat team."

Numerous fire personnel from both Oliver Paipoonge and Thunder Bay were on scene, along with the Hazardous Materials unit and Thunder Bay Police officers.

The Emergency Management vehicle was also brought in to help deal with the situation.

Hankkio said they're taking every precaution to ensure the leak is contained and handled safely.

"Our goal at this point will be to stop the leak, to mitigate the problem, so we're going to put people in Level A hazmat suits, send them into the arena, and asses the situation," he said. 

"If we can stop the leak at the same time while we're in there, that's what we'll try to accomplish."

The NorWest Arena remains closed while the leak is dealt with, and there's no word on when the facility might be re-opened.


(Thunder Bay Television)

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Nitesky says:
A leak of anhydrous ammonia is a disaster. It is not the same stuff you can buy at the grocery store and it is very dangerous to life and limb
12/27/2012 9:07:55 AM
chbaker says:
What does an arena use such a chemical for?
12/27/2012 10:15:37 AM
The Wolf says:
My my my my my...

Dear chbaker, can you do yourself a huge favour? Here is what you need to do.

Before you make any comment on this site ask yourself this "Do I have any knowledge in this area?" If your answer is "yes" proceed to offer your opinion. If your answer is "No" simply just shut up, we are all tired of hearing your non educated ignorant remarks.
12/27/2012 10:32:40 PM
razor_burn says:
Take your own advice.
12/28/2012 8:38:51 AM
freedom54 says:
12/27/2012 11:21:04 AM
humnchuck says:
This happened about 7 years ago at Current River Arena also. Crews in Haz-mat suits, streets blocked off all over for hours. Pretty serious stuff.
12/27/2012 11:52:24 AM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
I'm curious why it was there ? Is it part of the ice making/chilling system ?
12/27/2012 12:04:03 PM
SomeGuy says:
It's used in industrial refrigeration.
12/29/2012 10:30:52 AM
tsb says:
Ammonia is cheaper than Freon but requires skilled technicians. It would be interesting to know the exact cause but since this happened in Oliver Paipoonge we never will.
12/29/2012 12:36:58 PM
Gooneygooo says:
Ammonia is a refrigerant (R717) commonly used in arenas. It doesn't harm the ozone layer like freon based refrigerants.
12/29/2012 6:25:28 PM
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