The City of Fernie has lifted the evacuation order that had displaced the residents of approximately 55 homes for the better part of a week following an ammonia leak at the local arena that claimed three lives.
"The situation at the arena has stabilized and the experts on scene are now comfortable that there is no longer an ammonia threat at the arena," said Fernie Fire Chief Ted Reuter. "It is now safe for residents to return home and the on-scene investigation to continue."
"Air quality monitoring will continue and, although residents may notice an intermittent ammonia odour near the arena, we want to assure them there are no risks or health hazards."
The evacuation order ended Sunday, six days after the workplace deaths at the Fernie Memorial Arena.
The B.C. Coroners Service has identified the deceased men as 59-year-old Wayne Allan Hornquist and 52-year-old Lloyd Stewart Smith of Fernie and 46-year-old Jason Donovan Podloski of Turner Valley, Alberta.
The arena was closed on October 17 after an undisclosed issue was detected. The three men were attempting to make repairs when a deadly anhydrous ammonia leak sprung from the building’s cooling systems.
An evacuation order was issued for homes in the vicinity of the arena following the ammonia leak. Fernie RCMP and officials with WorkSafeBC continue to investigate the fatal incident.
The arena and community centre remain closed to the public.