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Airboat rescues Centennial Sports Arena's ice after ammonia leak

Morning headlines from Dec. 1, 2023
Morning headlines from Dec. 1, 2023 01:50

CIRCLE PINES, Minn. — Deputies used an unlikely tool inside a Twin Cities sports arena Thursday to mitigate a dangerous ammonia leak.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called to Centennial Sports Arena in Circle Pines after its ice surface's refrigeration system broke down, leading to an ammonia leak inside the arena.

"The levels of ammonia in the rink were 400ppm (the safe exposure limit is 35ppm for no longer than 15 minutes)," the sheriff's office wrote in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter.

Crews from the Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Mounds View Fire Department rushed to the scene, and were presented with a major dilemma: if this didn't get fixed within a few hours, the ice would melt, and ice restoration would take two weeks — creating a major headache for all the local hockey teams that depend on it.

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Also, even if all fans from every local department were brought to the arena, it probably wouldn't be enough to beat the clock.

Thankfully, someone thought of the ACSO's airboat, which was brought to the arena and effectively ventilated the building with time to spare.

"Thank you Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Mounds View Fire Dept. for keeping the building secure and creatively problem-solving a solution!" the sheriff's department wrote.

It took "a few five-minute bursts of air" from the airboat to drop the ammonia level down to a safe zone.

The 31-year-old arena, the first in the Twin Cities with an Olympic-size ice surface, underwent an $8.5 million renovation in 2019.

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