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RCMP, WorkSafe investigating after ammonia leak in Mount Paul leads to fatality

1 dead after ammonia leak

Sydney Chisholm

UPDATE: 5:44 p.m.

Kamloops police are investigating the cause of Thursday morning’s ammonia leak at an ice-making business that resulted in the death of one person and the evacuation of the surrounding area in Mount Paul Industrial Park.

In a statement, Kamloops RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn said the Tk’emlups rural detachment and the Southeast District General Investigation Services would be conducting an investigation.

“With public safety secured now, police will be conducting a parallel investigation to that of WorkSafeBC to establish what led to the fatal leak,” Evelyn said, adding the BC Coroner’s Service will also be conducting a concurrent investigation.

Kamloops deputy fire chief Ryan Cail said the man who died was believed to be in his 60s.

"There was a malfunction with an ammonia bottle," Cail said. "The valve was dislodged, broke or malfunctioned. We're not aware of how it was discharged, but a large amount of ammonia was released."

Two other employees managed to escape the business, he said.

"The details of how this specific individual was unable to get out are unknown" and will be under investigation, he said.

The ice-making company could not immediately be reached for comment.

First responders responded to the report of an ammonia leak at a business in the 700-block of Sarcee Street East at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Traffic in the area was redirected while some nearby businesses were evacuated.

BC Emergency Health Services said several paramedic ground crews and two supervisors responded to the incident.

According to BC EHS, paramedics took one person to hospital in critical condition, while two others were also transported to hospital in stable condition. Other patients in stable condition were assessed on scene.

Interior Health said Royal Inland Hospital received a total of four patients related to the incident.

In a post to social media at on Thursday afternoon, the City of Kamloops confirmed one person died as a result of the ammonia leak.

As of 1 p.m., the city said the scene was stable and evacuated businesses and other citizens can resume their business in the area.

A WorkSafe BC spokesperson told Castanet Kamloops they were notified of the serious incident shortly after 11 a.m.

“WorkSafe BC has launched an investigation. The purpose of our investigation is to identify the cause of the accident, including any contributing factors, so that similar incidents can be prevented from happening in the future,” the spokesperson said.

WorkSafeBC says on its website that the accidental release of ammonia during transportation, storage or use may put employees at risk if they inhale the colourless gas.

Ammonia is used in refrigeration systems, power generation and manufacturing.

"Public safety is our top priority," the city said in the statement. "The scene is now stable and the evacuated business and other citizens can go about their business in the area."

Mike Farnworth, Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, called the situation "tragic."

"We send our deepest condolences to the grieving family and friends of the deceased individual. Our hearts are with them."

"Workers and their families should not have to worry about their safety and well-being when they are on the job. Tragedies such as this strengthen our resolve to ensure everyone in B.C. can enjoy a safe workplace," Farnworth added.

"We would like to thank those who responded quickly and heroically, including the Kamloops RCMP, Kamloops Fire Rescue, environmental emergency response officers and BC Emergency Health Services."

with files from The Canadian Press


UPDATE: 1:23 p.m.

One person has died after a large amount of ammonia was discharged at a business in the Mount Paul area, according to the City of Kamloops.

In a statement posted to social media, the city said police, WorkSafeBC and the BC Coroners Service are conducting investigations into the incident, looking into how the ammonia was released.

First responders were called to 790 Sarcee St. East at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday after receiving reports of the leak.

"Earlier this morning a large amount of ammonia was discharged at a business in in the Mount Paul Industrial Park," the city statement said, adding that multiple businesses were evacuated.

"Sadly we can confirm there was one fatality as a result of this incident. Public safety is our top priority — the scene is now stable and the evacuated businesses and other citizens can go about their business in the area."

According to BC Emergency Health Services, two other people were taken to hospital in stable condition, while six patients in stable condition were assessed on scene.


UPDATE: 12:59 p.m.

BC Emergency Health Services say three people have been taken to hospital as a result of an ammonia leak in the Mount Paul area.

BC EHS said paramedics had taken one patient to hospital in critical condition, while two others were transported to the hospital in stable condition.

"About six other patients in stable condition were assessed on scene," BC EHS said in a statement.

Interior Health earlier said the hospital had made preparations to receive patients from an incident in Kamloops, and had been initially notified eight people were being brought to the hospital.

According to a statement from Kamloops Fire Rescue, hazmat crews are on scene at 790 Sarcee St. East and are still monitoring the situation.

People have been asked to avoid the area.


UPDATE: 12:42 p.m.

Interior Health is asking people with non-urgent needs to avoid coming to Royal Inland Hospital after an ammonia leak occurred in an area of Mount Paul Industrial Park earlier Thursday morning.

In an email to Castanet, the health authority confirmed the hospital "has made preparations to receive patients from an incident in Kamloops."

"We do not have details about the incident itself, but at this point we have been notified that approximately eight patients are being brought to the hospital," IH said.

First responders received reports of an ammonia leak at 790 Sarcee St. East at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed one person was taken to hospital in critical condition as a result of the incident.

According to a statement from Kamloops Fire Rescue, hazmat crews are on scene and monitoring the situation.

People have been asked to avoid the area.


UPDATE: 12:13 p.m.

One person has been taken to hospital in critical condition after an ammonia leak in the Mount Paul area, according to BC Emergency Health Services.

BC EHS said five paramedic ground crews and two supervisors responded after the leak was reported in the 700-block of Sarcee St. about 10:29 a.m.

"One patient was transported to hospital in critical condition," BC EHS said, adding the situation is ongoing and crews remain on scene.

Kamloops Fire Rescue and police are also on scene, with officers blocking access to Carrier and Sarcee Streets.

People are advised to avoid the area.

The story will be updated as more information becomes available.


ORIGINAL: 11:23 a.m.

Residents are asked to avoid an area in Mount Paul Industrial Park as emergency crews respond to an ammonia leak.

According to a statement from the City of Kamloops, the ammonia leak happened at 790 Sarcee St. East.

“KFR’s [Kamloops Fire Rescue’s] Hazmat team is on route and RCMP are assisting with road closures,” the city said.

Const. Crystal Evelyn told Castanet Kamloops police were called to assist KFR with traffic control, and have blocked off the road near the 700-block of Carrier Street.

Sarcee Street is also closed.

“Please avoid the area to allow crews to do their work,” the city statement said.

Castanet Kamloops has reached out to KFR and BC Ambulance Services for more information. This story will be updated when more information is available.



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