KAMLOOPS, B.C. — An employee at an ice-making business in Kamloops, B.C., has died of exposure to ammonia gas, the city's deputy fire chief said.
Ryan Cail said the man was believed to be in his 60s and the facility was closed for the rest of the day following the incident on Thursday morning.
"There was a malfunction with an ammonia bottle," Cail said. "The valve was dislodged, broke or malfunctioned. We're not aware of how it was discharged, but a large amount of ammonia was released."
Two other employees managed to escape the business, he said.
"The details of how this specific individual was unable to get out are unknown" and will be under investigation, he said.
The ice-making company could not immediately be reached for comment.
The City of Kamloops said earlier Thursday that one person had died in hospital following an ammonia leak at an industrial park.
A spokeswoman with BC Emergency Health Services said one person had been taken to hospital in critical condition and two others were there in stable condition.
Six others were assessed at the scene after five paramedic crews and two supervisors responded to a call at about 10:30 a.m., she said.
The city said in a written statement that the RCMP and firefighters responded to the scene and several businesses were evacuated.
Police and WorkSafeBC were investigating how the ammonia was released, and the coroners service has also launched an investigation, the city said.
WorkSafeBC says on its website that the accidental release of ammonia during transportation, storage or use may put employees at risk if they inhale the colourless gas
Ammonia is used in refrigeration systems, power generation and manufacturing.
"Public safety is our top priority," the city said in its written statement. "The scene is now stable and the evacuated business and other citizens can go about their business in the area."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.
The Canadian Press