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One confirmed dead following ammonia leak at ice plant

City says the area is now safe and has reopened to the public. The building where the incident occurred remains closed as crews investigate

One person has died following an ammonia leak Thursday morning at Arctic Glacier, an ice manufacturing facilty located in the Mount Paul Industrial Park.

Kamloops Fire Rescue deputy fire chief Ryan Cail confirmed the death to KTW. Cail said crews were performing emergency medical intervention en route to Royal Inland Hospital.

Cail said fire crews responded Thursday morning to a sight of smoke in the area. That smoke, however, ended up being a release of ammonia.

“We now know that, as a result of doing some refrigeration repairs and decommission of equipment, there was a malfunction somewhere, which is obviously still under investigation as to how it unfolded,” Cail said. “But the result was a release of ammonia, which obviously affected a couple of staff that were still in the building at the time. One which was trapped, who we had to extricate, and the others had minor injuries. One was deemed critical and taken to the hospital immediately.”

BC Emergency Health Services said one person was taken to hospital in critical condition, others were transported in stable condition and about six were assessed on scene. Interior Health said four people were being treated at Royal Inland Hospital as of 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. At 2:30 p.m., Interior Health said the four patients had since been assessed, treated, if needed, and discharged.

The person who was trapped was the person who died, Cail said. He could not say how or where the individual was trapped.

“I don’t know any specifics of that, but what I can tell you is thankfully we had one of our hazardous materials techs on scene that understood the gas in question and managed to secure our firefighters in an appropriate way to at least get in real quick and do a contact rescue,” he said.

Cail said full precautions are taken in situations involving hazardous materials, including personal protective equipment. He said firefighters will be dealing with the traumatic loss of a community member.

“Our crews including our communication operators, they tend to wear this a little bit as frontline employees do,” he said.

KFR is no longer on scene and the area has reopened to the public, with staff having returned to businesses in the area. Cail said there is no longer a risk to the public.

Kamloops RCMP remain on scene at Arctic Glacier.

The city said Kamloops RCMP, WorkSafeBC and BC Coroners Office are involved in the investigation.