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The Zamboni Explosion and Peterson Arena Fire of 2004

peterson arenaPeterson Arena on Grand Avenue in West Duluth was gutted by fire on Dec. 19, 2004. The image of the wreckage at left is a Bob King photo for the Duluth News Tribune, boosted from USA Today‘s story about the unfortunate and scary, yet still undeniably comical, Zamboni explosion. The fire marked the end of Peterson Arena, which served as the only indoor ice rink in western Duluth from 1971 to 2004. It was replaced by the Duluth Heritage Sports Center at Clyde Park, which opened in 2008.

3 Comments

BadCat!

about 3 years ago

I knew two of the guys who were in there when it happened, and they were completely tweaked out afterwords (jumped at any loud noise). Being the asshole that I am, I sent them both "Get Well" ecards from Zamboni's website.

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

Peterson Arena Duluth 2004 Our heroes in the Duluth News Tribune Attic have come through with more photos by Bob King, Justin Hayworth, Amanda Odeski and Rick Scibelli, as well as the full details of this sad and silly episode. 10 years ago tonight: Zamboni explodes, Peterson Arena burns

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

I should take a moment to clarify at greater length that while indeed the phrase "Zamboni explosion" is indisputably funny, obviously this incident was terrifying for the broomball players who were there, some of them thrown over boards by the force of the blast and knocked unconscious, all of them struggling to get out of a smoke-filled building and worrying that others might be left behind. And this anniversary comes at the same time that dozens of hockey players and fans were sickened from carbon monoxide in a Fargo arena and 81 more were hospitalized near Wisconsin Dells. And perhaps most potentially horrific of all was the incident on Feb. 12, 1939, when the steel and wood roof of the Duluth Amphitheater collapsed under the weight of snow during the intermission of the annual hockey game between the Duluth Police Department and the Virginia Fire Department. Fortunately, since the incident occurred during intermission, most of the fans were in the lobby. The presence of most of the city's police force led to a swift evacuation seconds before the collapse. Organist Leland McEwen bravely held his post until the last moment, playing soothing music to calm the crowd. Four slightly hurt as crowd seeks safety More on the Amphitheater on Zenith City Online.

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