The arena was evacuated due to high carbon monoxide levels. Officials are still investigating, but according to a police spokesperson, the machine used to resurface the ice was left running.
Arena management has indicated that the facility will remain closed until the environment is proven safe. OSHA is now investigating.
Although this may seem like a rare incident, apparently it happens often enough to have been reported by ESPN’s “E:60” as recently as April this year. According to E:60, nearly 200 people have been sickened in the last six (6) months by gases emitted from poorly maintained ice resurfacers. Well, Phoenix can add another 33 to that total. At present, only Minnesota, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have laws regulating air quality at indoor ice rinks.
It is unknown whether injury claims will be presented, or any legal action will result from any of those sickened by the incident. The value of any such claims would depend upon the nature and extent of the injuries.
Under Arizona law, this type of claim would be known as a “premises liability” claim. When injuries occur as a result of some dangerous or defective condition of someone else’s property or premises, the case is classified as “premises liability”. In this type of claim, an injured guest would have to prove that the Arena was negligent in the maintenance of its facilities. Leaving on the resurfacing machine with guests present in the Arena could certainly fit this bill.
At the Zachar Law Firm, we regularly meet with clients, evaluate and handle premises liability claims. These can be difficult claims. The old adage that says “if you get hurt on another’s property, they are automatically liable”----not true. Not even close to true. You must prove negligence. In this case, whether anyone was injured seriously enough to warrant a claim, and whether the Arena was negligent, remain to be seen.