Ammonia leak at Steiner

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

More than 100 people were evacuated at the Steiner Ice Center and the Steiner Aquatic Center after high levels of ammonia were reported at the centers Tuesday evening.

A haz-mat team, several fire trucks and nearly a dozen of Salt Lake City Police and Fire Department cars were called to the Steiner centers after an alarm in the ice arena was set off when high levels of ammonia were detected in the air.

The leak freed more than 4,000 pounds of chemicals in one of the two tanks in the ice arena around 4 p.m., said Martin Jensen, spokesman for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation Division.

Ammonia is used to keep the ice in the skating arenas refrigerated and can be potentially fatal, Jensen said.

More than 100 people who were either in the skating arenas, the outdoor or indoor swimming pools or the workout areas were evacuated to a school across the street from the center.

There were no reported injuries, and the officers took those who evacuated — including U students, faculty and children — to their homes by 6 p.m., said Scott Freitag, spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

Two schools near the center were evacuated when police officers were alerted of the leak. Guardsman Way, the street where the center is located, was shut down until late evening.

Jensen said the level of ammonia that was recorded in the air has never been that high in the building before. However, the fire department had isolated the leak by 6:30 p.m., Jensen said, and that it would be fully contained in a couple of hours.

Freitag said the cause of the leak was unknown, but an investigation was underway.

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Tyler Cobb