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Lakeland president on mill explosion: "I will be eternally sorry"

Lakeland president Greg Stewart speaks to media in March 2013 (CBC)

On April 14, B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch announced it will not be laying charges in the fire and explosion that killed 2 and injured 24 at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George in April 2012.

In a written statement, the Crown says no search warrants were obtained by WorkSafeBC during the investigation of the sawmill, and that a conviction would be unlikely.

Greg Stewart is president of Lakeland Mills. He says safety has always been a priority for his company. "On the night of April 23, 2012, we failed the expectations of our founders and most importantly our employees. For that, and for the impacts it has had on our employees, their families, and our community, I will be eternally sorry."

Stewart says he and his company did not know about the extent of the risks of sawdust prior to the explosion. "Had regulators provided us with the information prior to this incident, I am confident that our team would have responded appropriately to address any of the risks."

Listen to Lakeland president Greg Stewart speak to media:
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Stewart says Lakeland did attempt to address dust issues following an explosion at a mill in Burns Lake, but they did not have all the information they have now.

Speaking with Daybreak North on Tuesday, Stephen Hunt of the United Steelworkers Union says a number of Lakeland employees affected by the explosion feel frustrated by a lack of accountability.

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