August 2, 2018
Technical Safety BC – Investigation Report

Ammonia Release Fernie Memorial Arena

TORONTO, August 2, 2018


An investigation by Technical Safety B.C. (the safety authority and governing body for pressure vessels and operating engineers in BC) has found that equipment failure and operational decisions resulted in the deadly ammonia leak at the Fernie Memorial Arena, BC last year.

On October 16, 2017, the curling brine chiller at the arena was put back into operation after a seasonal shutdown. During the shutdown and seasonal maintenance, ammonia had been detected in the curling brine system, indicating that the curling brine chiller was leaking.

Wayne Allan Hornquist, 59, Lloyd Stewart Smith, 52, and Jason Donovan Podloski, 46, were killed during this tragic incident. Hornquist and Smith were Fernie city staff, while Podloski was a refrigeration contractor. 

The Ontario Recreation Facilities Association Inc. (ORFA) is in the process of reviewing the investigation report and will shortly provide comparison as it relates to Ontario related legislation, regulations, and registered refrigeration plant operational best practices.

"The death of the three workers has resulted in a sad legacy of hard lessons, the resolve of which is to do better moving forward to ensure such a tragedy never happens again" states Ross Rankin, ORFA President and Chair of the Board of Directors.

Further, ORFA Chief Administrative Officer, John Milton remarks that "the ORFA has long maintained, and valued, the professional, efficient and competent operation of recreation facilities within the province. The Association will continue to support its members, and continue to strive to produce industry-leading education, value-added services, and quality products to assist in protecting arena workers in Ontario."