Collicutt evacuated after ammonia leak

  • Jan. 18, 2012 3:47 p.m.

the Collicutt Centre where an anhydrous ammonia leak was reported.

The Collicutt Centre was evacuated immediately and closed for the remainder of the day. No injuries were reported and everyone got out safely in a very timely manner before the gas could spread throughout the facility.

Emergency Services worked all afternoon and into the evening to find the cause of the leak in order to contain it and to monitor the pressure on the lines where it was leaking.

The source of the leak was coming from the ice room at the Collicutt and Emergency Services members worked to cap off the leak in order to vent out the harmful gas in a controlled manner.

The leak did not affect or was a threat to any other neighbouring communities because of the emergency response plan, which was quickly put into affect by staff members at the Collicutt.

Anhydrous ammonia is used in a liquid form in mechanical refrigeration systems found at ice rinks such as the Collicutt. It is slightly lighter than air but can mix with water vapour and become heavier. In very high concentrations it can create an explosive mixture with air, but it is not normally flammable.

Some symptoms of exposure to the ammonia gas are severe irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Exposure over a long period of time can cause headaches, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Skin contact to the liquid form can cause burns, blisters and even frostbite. Severe eye contact could lead to blindness.

The Collicutt Centre remained closed Monday night and continued to be controlled and monitored with RCMP members and Peace Officers blocking off traffic over the course of the day and making sure no one entered the facility.

The facility re-opened yesterday morning.