Faulty tool blamed for ammonia leak

The cause of the ammonia leak at Westhills Arena last week falls onto a faulty racheting wrench.

The cause of the ammonia leak at Westhills Arena last week falls onto a faulty racheting  wrench.

When employees of Accent Refrigeration were beginning to release some of the ammonia from the arena’s system, a faulty tool inhibited the connection between the hose and tank to be tightened.

The ammonia was being transferred into cylinders because there was more ammonia in the system than needed, said Art Sutherland, owner of Accent Refrigeration.

“(The employee) wasn’t able to close the cylinder and when an other employee came back with another wrench, there was too much ammonia to close it,” Sutherland said.

“All of the wrenches have been replaced and we’ve put other steps in place to prevent it from happening again … We have a dedicated ammonia soaking hose now.”

“This was just an unfortunate set of circumstances,” said Langford administrator Jim Bowden. “But, we were able to test the evacuation process and the first responder process and everything there went well.”

The day before the leak, the crew had successfully released 400 pounds of ammonia from the system. On Nov. 30 they were attempting to release another 100 pounds, said Bowden.

No one was injured during the leak.

The leak was detected shortly after 8 a.m., all roads and pathways leading to City Centre Park were blocked off until about 11:30 a.m.

Businesses in the area were evacuated as well as some residents on Jenkins Avenue.

CCP reopened at 2 p.m.

West Shore RCMP, several fire departments, Capital Regional District Hazmat team and BC Ambulance were on scene.