One Person Has Died After Ammonia Leak At BC Facility Sends Several People To Hospital

Nearby businesses were evacuated in Kamloops.

A B.C. RCMP vehicle.

A B.C. RCMP vehicle.

One person has died after an ammonia leak at an ice-making facility in an industrial area of Kamloops, B.C., on Thursday, May 26.

B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) said they received a call at 10:29 a.m. to report the leak of the highly toxic gas in the 700 block of Sarcee Street East, in Kamloops' Mount Paul Industrial Park.

Around six people in stable condition were assessed at the scene while two other patients were taken to the hospital in stable condition, BCEHS said.

However, one person was transported to the hospital in "critical condition," and police confirmed that the person later "succumbed to his injuries."

Kamloops RCMP and Kamloops Fire Rescue attended the incident site to redirect traffic and evacuate local businesses.

Police said they are working alongside the Southeast District General Investigation Services to investigate the cause of the ammonia leak.

"With public safety secured now, police will be conducting a parallel investigation to that of WorkSafe BC to establish what led to the fatal leak," said Constable Crystal Evelyn, a spokesperson for Kamloops RCMP.

In a series of tweets, the City of Kamloops said RCMP, WorkSafeBC and the BC Coroners Service would all be working together to investigate how the ammonia was released.

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, ammonia is a colourless gas with a strong odour. Inhalation of ammonia is extremely toxic and can cause severe irritation of the nose and throat. It can also irritate and burn skin and eyes.

Mike Farnworth, deputy premier and B.C. minister of public safety, called the incident a "tragic situation" and thanked emergency responders for their quick response.

"Workers and their families should not have to worry about their safety and well-being when they are on the job. Tragedies such as this strengthen our resolve to ensure everyone in B.C. can enjoy a safe workplace."

Charlie Hart
Charlie Hart was a Travel Creator for Narcity Media focused on Canadian and global travel and is based in Calgary, Alberta.