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Winfield arena closed by county until permanent carbon monoxide detectors installed

A corroded pipe at the Winfield arena led to a carbon monoxide leak on Feb. 3.   - Stu Salkeld
A corroded pipe at the Winfield arena led to a carbon monoxide leak on Feb. 3.
— image credit: Stu Salkeld

A corroded pipe at the Winfield arena led to a carbon monoxide leak on Feb. 3.

“On Friday close to 11 o’clock (p.m.) we received a call from our arena operator. We had a men’s league team on the ice. They were getting sick, they were feeling dizzy,” said Geoff Lynch, director of leisure and community services.

The hamlet of Winfield is part of the County of Wetaskiwin, and its arena is handled by county staff. Lynch made a presentation to county council on the incident of the carbon monoxide leak during council’s Feb. 7 meeting.

A fire chief was on the ice at the time of the incident and recognized the symptoms as a result of carbon monoxide.

The arena was evacuated and 911 was called.

“It (carbon monoxide) was quite high in the arena area. The doors coming in and out from the arena to the dressing room, that’s where it was coming in,” said Lynch.

“We contacted all of our user groups, saying if you’re feeling nauseous and sick please seek medical treatment,” he added. He informed council one man was reported going to the hospital.

By approximately 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 4, a second reading indicated levels were back to normal.

Residential CO detectors are temporarily located in the arena, “For now, just to make sure,” said Lynch.

“When you look at the response I think the staff did the proper response in regards to evacuating, also having the fire department and Geoff down there until about 4 o’clock in the morning,” said CAO Frank Coutney.

In an interview Feb. 9, Lynch stated the one man who went to hospital had returned home the same night. A family member reported him as being okay.

Both Lynch and County Fire Chief Mike Zajac have been at the arena every day for the past week to identify the source of the leak and rectify the problem.

Lynch stated the arena remained closed to the public while the problem was found; it was revealed to be an overhead heater pipe, similar to those found in most other arenas. The pipe was corroded inside, and the hole or crack was difficult to see.

Lynch said the arena remains closed until new CO detectors can be installed. The county is just waiting for a supplier to provide the detectors.

 

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