HazMat Team Responds To Loring Arena For Ammonia Leak

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FRAMINGHAM – A tier one hazmat team was called to Loring Arena this morning, March 2, for an ammonia leak, said Framingham Fire Chief Michael Dutcher.

Around 9 a.m., the rink manager called the fie department when the rink’s leak detection system went off, said Chief Dutcher.

According to the EPA “Anhydrous ammonia is a toxic gas recognizable by its pungent odor.”

Firefighters were at the rink within minutes. Nobody was inside the rink but the manager, said the chief.

Firefighters were able to trace the leak to the mechanical room, in the back of the City-owned ice rink.

Firefighters determined a Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Response Team was needed.

“Six technicians came to the rink” said Chief Dutcher. “They isolated the leak and shut down the system.”

“Ammonia refrigeration is an economically and environmentally-efficient option for ice rinks,” according to the EPA.

No one was injured.

Chief Dutcher said the gasket causing the problem was fixed and the system was repaired by noon.

“It was a very minor hazmat response,” said Chief Dutcher. ‘Everything was shut off within minutes.”

Rink was open later today, said Chief Dutcher.

“When released as a gas, ammonia is a severe irritant to the eyes, nose, and throat. Exposure can cause headaches, coughing, difficulty breathing, and impaired vision. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of ammonia can lead to asthma, blindness, and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which can be fatal,” according to OSHA. “Skin contact with liquid ammonia can cause burns, blisters, and frostbite, as well as blindness or eye damage.”

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