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Safety systems in place, owner says, but more measures coming

Pat Yetman Jr. says safety protocol met all the required standards in his rink, and monitoring systems were in place, but the owners of Bussey Horwood Arena will be looking to ensure more safety measures are put in place in the wake of carbon monoxide exposure to minor hockey players Friday.

Yetman, part of the arena’s ownership group, said detectors for ammonia leaks and carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide leaks are in place in the arena, but inside a closed room where the refrigeration plant is located.

“It’s the one area that could be the most dangerous, and a gas detector is in there, behind a closed door,” Yetman said. “All of our safety is up to standard. We’ve had regular inspections.”

Friday, the arena’s Zamboni, which had been experiencing mechanical troubles, produced carbon monoxide and the detector inside the plant did not pick up the elevated levels, Yetman said.

“This was something we never thought was possible,” he said. “I’ve been in rinks my whole life. Myself and my dad, my brother, my nephews and cousins, not to mention hundreds of kids, are in that rink every day.

“All of our safety measures were up to standard. But this is very scary, and what we have to do now is set a new standard for us. I guarantee there will be more detectors throughout the entire building.”

Yetman confirmed there were troubles with the Zamboni, and although he was not present at the time, the ice surfacing machine was left running for five or 10 minutes or longer Friday while rink attendants worked to repair the problem.

“The outside door leading to the parking lot was open,” Yetman said, “and the inside door which leads to the ice surface was closed.”

Yetman has a meeting with Service NL officials today, and he said there may be suggestions coming out of that meeting.

“For me, to have peace of mind, we’ve got to have more sensors throughout,” he said. “To have even one incident is not good enough.”

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