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2 city employees, 1 contractor killed following Fernie ammonia leak at arena

City of Fernie reels from fatal ammonia leak
WATCH: The B.C. city of Fernie is still in shock tonight, after an ammonia leak at the local hockey arena killed three people. Ted Chernecki has the latest on the investigation into the tragedy.

It has now been confirmed that two city employees and one contractor were killed in Fernie on Tuesday following what is believed to be an ammonia leak at the local hockey arena.

LISTEN: Fernie mayor joins Jon McComb to talk about the incident

Their names have not been released at this time, however, it has now been confirmed the contractor worked for CIMCO Refrigeration.

“Tragically a CIMCO employee died yesterday in Fernie B.C., along with two other individuals,” said Paul Jewer, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Toromont Industries, the parent company of CIMCO.

WATCH: Ted Ruiter, Director of Fire and Emergency Services for the City of Fernie updates the arena evacuation Wednesday evening.

City of Fernie updates arena evactuation
City of Fernie updates arena evactuation

 

“Details are unavailable at this early stage. We have staff on the ground and will assist as appropriate.”

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the team.”

The CIMCO employee was from Calgary and had been called to Fernie to work at the arena.

“We’re devastated, we’re absolutely devastated here. We’ve lost a member of our family,” said Jewer.

WATCH: The latest on the fatal ammonia leak that claimed 3 lives at the Fernie Memorial Arena Tuesday afternoon.

Fernie press conference
Fernie press conference

Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano told Global News the details of what happened are still being uncovered.

“All I can tell you is they were doing routine maintenance, it was suspected that an ammonia leak was happening, consultants were called in that have expertise in this matter and then at 2:30 [p.m. Tuesday] I was notified that there had been three fatalities,” she said. “So this was very shocking news, it travelled really quickly.”

“People in town are absolutely devastated.”

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Giuliano said although the identities of the victims have not been released, everyone knows who the employees are because it is a small town.

“And so there’s utter disbelief and utter shock and our heart just goes out to the families. I can’t tell you how devastating this is for our town,” she added.

Sgt. Trevor Tribes from Elk Valley RCMP say they will not be releasing the names of the victims. The coroner may release names later.

On Wednesday afternoon RCMP said they were still waiting to enter the arena and process the scene. Police and other emergency crews will only enter once it’s been deemed safe to do so.

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WATCH: Global National’s Reid Fiest is in Fernie this morning following an ammonia leak at the local arena in Fernie Tuesday afternoon:

State of emergency declared after fatal ammonia leak in Fernie
State of emergency declared after fatal ammonia leak in Fernie

The City of Fernie has declared a State of Local Emergency and issued an evacuation order for homes between 9th Street and 13th Street, as well as between Highway 3 and 6th Street.

“About 60 people were evacuated and about 25 of those we had to place in a local hotel,” said Giuliano. “The rest of them were able to stay with family and friends.”

The state of emergency will stay in effect until Oct. 24 at midnight, unless it’s cancelled by the city or the minister responsible, said a news release.

WATCH: Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano speaks on Global News Morning BC:

Tragedy in Fernie: The mayor speaks out
Tragedy in Fernie: The mayor speaks out

Giuliano said she never knew of any issues relating to the equipment at the hockey rink.

“The person we have taking care of the arena is someone that is completely cognizant and the best person ever, just up to speed on everything and completely careful.”

Resources have been called in from across B.C. and Alberta to assist with the investigation.

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Crime scene tape up outside the arena in Fernie.
Crime scene tape up outside the arena in Fernie. Global News