News / Calgary

Calgary Flames Community Arenas evacuated after pepper spray incident

Girls' ringette team and spectators experienced throat irritation and coughing

The Calgary FIre Department's HazMat unit was called to the Flames Community Arenas after players and spectators experienced throat irritation.

Brodie Thomas / Metro Order this photo

The Calgary FIre Department's HazMat unit was called to the Flames Community Arenas after players and spectators experienced throat irritation.

The Flames Community Arenas were evacuated Wednesday night after people started experiencing throat irritation.

Michelle Clayton was sitting in the stands, watching her daughter play ringette, when she first noticed it.

"We just started coughing. And we noticed that all of us were coughing."

She described it as a burning irritation, although they didn't smell anything.

When people realized what was happening, she said they all started leaving the building.

Girls from the team were moved to a curling rink next to the arena.

"It felt like if there'd been pepper spray in there and you had breathed that in," said Claire Perrella, one of the ringette players.

"We went to the washroom and then when we came out, it just kind of hit us in the back of the throat and then we couldn't stop coughing," said Sarah Charpentier, another ringette player. "The tip of my tongue was going numb."

Jim Wilson, district chief with the Calgary Fire Department, confirmed that there was no chemical leak at the arena, and investigators suspected, but had yet to confirm, that it had been some sort of mace or pepper spray.

More on Metronews.ca