Evacuation of Centre 70 due to ‘false alarm’
It was a tense situation for the kids, organizers, coaches, and parents as all of those at Centre 70 were evacuated due to a refrigerant gas leak alarm – an alarm that turned out to be false.
At approximately 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, Kingston Fire & Rescue crews responded to the alarm at the west end arena, where the Kingston Canadians were in the midst of warming up prior to taking on the Trenton Nomads (Ontario Minor Hockey Association Rep U14 A). That game was cancelled, as firefighters used air apparatus to inspect inside the building. Because refrigerant – most commonly, ammonia – can be lethal if inhaled, a hazmat team was deployed, while the refrigeration contractor for the arena was called in.
“We had an ammonia alarm here at Center 70. We believe it is false. We’re going to clear the rink for tonight, and have the contractor back in the morning to see if there’s any substantial leaks or anything like that,” said Capt. David Stevenson with Kingston Fire & Rescue, while on the scene Thursday evening, where firefighters remained for nearly two hours.
“We believe the building is safe now, but just to err on the side of caution here, [we’re going to] clear the building for the night.”
Out of an abundance of caution, firefighters removed the players’ hockey bags and sticks from the local arena, and the teams went home.
On the morning of Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, Kingston Fire & Rescue confirmed the possible gas (refrigerant) leak, and specified that the leak was believed to be in the mechanical room at Centre 70.
“Emergency procedures were initiated, the building was evacuated and… No injuries were reported,” the local fire department relayed.
“As a precaution, the facility bookings were cancelled for the rest of the evening to allow for a review of the situation. The arena is expected to reopen this evening for regular programming.”
An hour later, Kingston Fire & Rescue provided an update in response to Kingstonist inquiries, indicating that the alarm “appears to have been false, as no leak was present.”