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Sawmill explosion kills one at Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
April 25th, 2012

One man is dead and four other more seriously injured remain in hospital in Vancouver, Victoria and Edmonton following an explosion Monday evening at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George.

At approximately 9:39 p.m., emergency crews were dispatched to the Lakeland Mills sawmill and when they arrived found the mill fully engulfed in flames.

Initial indication was that there were approximately 50 persons on the site, which included two separate mills.

This was later found to be 49 persons.

“Like all British Columbians, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the explosion and fire at Lakeland Mills in Prince George,” said B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families impacted, particularly with the family of the worker who did not survive this terrible incident.

“I want Mayor Shari Green to know that her city has the full support of our government as they persevere through this terrible time,” Clark added.

All 25 employees working in the planer mill were uninjured as the explosion had occurred in a separate processing mill across the property.

The remaining 24 employees have been accounted for and all of them were transported to the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia with injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to severe burns.

Thirteen people have been released from medical care and the remaining six people are in serious but stable condition at the University Hospital of Northern BC.

Four patients were transferred by air ambulance from UHNBC — two to Vancouver General and one each to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria and University Hospital in Edmonton.

Fire crews have made excellent progress in extinguishing the interior areas since early morning.

The only area that is still burning is wood contained in the rough-sawn lumber in the sorter bins on the west side of the sawmill building. The next steps include working closely with Worksafe BC to ensure the scene is safe for investigators to begin fire cause determination.

Prince George RCMP, the BC Coroners Service and fire investigators from Prince George Fire/Rescue have begun the investigation into the cause of the fire.

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