A Thunder Bay court has handed down a $275,000 fine in connection with an explosion three years ago at the pulp mill in Terrace Bay.

A worker at Terrace Bay Pulp, TJ Berthelot, was killed when a steel tank known as the blow tank exploded, creating a 9-meter hole in the roof of the mill. The blast left a debris field with a radius of about 90 meters.

The tank was normally used to contain hazardous substances. Berthelot was involved in cleaning the tank.

An investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal's office found that the explosion was caused by the ignition of existing hazardous substances. A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that welding repairs to the tank had been allowed to proceed before all hazardous material had been removed.

The ministry charged Terrace Bay Pulp Inc. under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In court Friday, the company pleaded  guilty to failing to take reasonable precautions and failing to ensure a tank was drained and cleaned of any explosive, flammable or harmful substance before repairs were made.

In addition to the fine, Justice Joyce Pelletier levied a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge. That money goes to a special government fund to assist victims of crime in Ontario.