British Columbia

Deadly Babine, Lakeland sawmill explosions to be probed at inquest

B.C.'s Coroners Service has announced it will hold a single public inquest into the deaths of four sawmill workers who died in two separate explosions in 2012.

Inquest to probe blasts at Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake, B.C. and Lakeland mill in Prince George

The Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, B.C., was completely destroyed in the explosion and subsequent fire on Jan. 20, 2012. Two workers died and 19 others were injured. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

B.C.'s Coroners Service has announced it will hold a single public inquest into the deaths of four sawmill workers who
died in separate explosions in 2012.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe will preside over the inquest looking into the blasts at the Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake and the Lakeland mill in Prince George.

Two members of the Babine First Nation were killed when the Burns Lake sawmill exploded in January. (CBC)

Robert Luggi Jr. and Carl Charlie were killed and 19 others injured when the Burns Lake mill exploded in January 2012. 

Three months later, the explosion at the Lakeland Mills facility killed Alan Little and Glenn Roche and injured 24 people.

The explosions were partly blamed on an accumulation of wood dust, but no charges were ever laid because the Crown had concerns that the evidence collected by WorkSafeBC wouldn't be admissible in court.

Lapointe says the decision to hold the single inquest was made after reviewing the information surrounding the deaths and a careful examination of the issues common to both explosions.

The B.C. Coroners Service said in a statement that the single proceeding will allow for the most effective examination of key questions and provide the best opportunity for a jury to consider recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

The inquest will be held net year in Prince George, B.C., starting March 2.

A large fire killed two people and destroyed the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday April 24, 2012. (Andrew Johnson/Canadian Press)


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