Province releases names of three men who died in Fernie arena ammonia leak

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      Authorities have released the names of three men who died in Fernie as the result of an ammonia leak at an ice-hockey arena.

      They are Wayne Hornquist, 59, Lloyd Smith, 52, and Jason Podloski, 46, according to the B.C. Coroners Service.

      Hornquist and Smith are described as residents of Fernie while Podloski was from Turner Valley, Alberta.

      The men died three days ago, on October 17. While an investigation remains ongoing, Fernie city officials have confirmed the deaths occurred at Fernie Memorial Arena and that it is believed an ammonia leak was responsible.

      "Fernie is a tight-knit community, and I know we will pull together to support each other as we have in the past," Mayor Mary Giuliano said at an October 18 press conference.

      According to CBC News, Hornquist and Smith were Fernie city employees and Podloski was an employee of CIMCO Refrigeration, a company headquartered in Calgary.

      B.C. Emergency Health Services has released a statement on Lloyd's passing. It describes him as an off-duty part-time paramedic.

      "We are deeply saddened with the news that a health-care worker, who was a part-time paramedic in addition to his job with the City of Fernie, has died, along with two other people," it reads in part.

      "Lloyd started his career as a paramedic in 1996 with BC Emergency Health Services. He worked in the East Kootenay area, including Golden, Invermere and Fernie, for more than 15 years," it continues. "He was a friend and mentor to many and will be sadly missed by all of those who worked with him. Lloyd's impact on the community of Fernie will be felt by many."

      An October 20 media release distributed by the B.C. Coroners Service states its staff are cooperating on an investigation alongside WorkSafeBC, Technical Safety BC, the RCMP, and the three men’s’ employers.

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