Saskatchewan

SaskPower employees died after falling from equipment: Weyburn deputy police chief

William Campbell, the business manager and financial secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2067, said he was informed about the deaths on Thursday evening and the news sent a shockwave through the union.

2 men, ages 51 and 40, were killed in Thursday incident, one identified as Scott Bill

The two people who died in a 'safety incident' on Thursday night were senior employees at SaskPower, according to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Two SaskPower employees who were killed in a workplace incident Thursday afternoon in Weyburn appear to have fallen out of the bucket they were using to work on power lines, the city's deputy police chief says.

Weyburn Police Service Deputy Police Chief Rod Stafford says officers from the department were called to the scene of the incident just after 3 p.m. on Thursday. 

"When the members arrived, they determined fairly quickly that SaskPower was doing some work in the area on the lines," he said. "There was an incident — and that's the centre of the investigation — that resulted in two SaskPower employees falling out of a piece of SaskPower equipment." 

Stafford says one of the men, a 51-year-old, was declared dead on the scene. A 40-year-old man was rushed to the Weyburn hospital, but died from his injuries a short time later.

Stafford said the equipment being used by the SaskPower employees was still upright when officers arrived. 

"That's what we're still working through investigating, but the indication is they fell out of the bucket," he said. 

He says the police department will be working "in lockstep" with both SaskPower and Occupational Health and Safety in their investigation. He also noted supports are being offered to officers who responded to the call.

Brother of deceased remembers him as hard-working family man

The 51-year-old man who died on scene has been identified by family as Scott Bill. His older brother Calvin said Scott was a father and grandfather who loved his family and friends, and was always willing to work hard. 

Calvin said he was still processing the loss Friday afternoon and that Scott's wife is coping as best she can.

"I think I'm in shock just yet," he said. "I've grieved some, but it still hasn't hit home that he's gone yet completely."

Calvin said Scott's family members are gathering to support one another in Weyburn and are making arrangements for his funeral. Calvin said he and his younger brother were close as kids and maintained that relationship as they got older.

"We grew up on a farm together and rode motorbikes and showed cattle and we were always close and in our adult life, we still are too," he said. "I can't even hardly express how a guy feels."

Calvin said riding dirt bikes through the Saskatchewan fields during harvest was one of the fondest memories he had of his brother. He said the family still regularly visited, despite living in separate towns, and gathered for special events like graduations and Christmas.

Like losing 'one of your brothers or sisters': IBEW

William Campbell, the business manager and financial secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2067, said he was informed about the deaths on Thursday evening by Sask. Power and the news sent a shock wave through the union.

"We're very saddened and deeply affected by any passing of members, accident, or in this situation, a critical incident, and all members are saddened by this," he said. 

He said Local 2067 is still waiting for details about what exactly happened, but that support has already started to pour in from IBEW locals across the country. 

Campbell, who has been with the union for more than four decades, said he crossed paths with the two men during his time with the local, but out of respect for the families and the men's privacy would not release their names. 

"IBEW is like a big family," he said. "So it'd be no different that if one of your brothers or sisters passed away." 

Employees killed were local: mayor 

Weyburn Mayor Marcel Roy said people in the community are "doing as well as can be" following a tragedy. 

"We are a city, but a small city of 11,000 population, so everybody knows everybody and is all connected," he said. 

"They're local people. They were making their lives here in the community. They had families and again, they are well connected throughout our community."

SaskPower said on Thursday evening its thoughts and prayers are with their families, friends and coworkers. The utility released little information, referring to it only as a "safety incident."

Dustin Duncan, the Sask. Party candidate for the electoral district of Weyburn Big-Muddy and the Minister Responsible for SaskPower before the election was called, offered his condolences to the family in a statement sent to the media. 

"These will be difficult days for so many people," he said in the statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends, as well as the entire community of Weyburn."

Duncan said he'll be suspending his election campaign for the day out of respect for the families and the community.

Campbell said both Saskatchewan Occupational Health and Safety and SaskPower will reviewing the incident. He said once the IBEW local has the required information, it will be sending a full report to its international office in Washington.

Officials with the Crown utility say the incident is under review.

"We're conducting an internal investigation and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety is investigating as well and we're fully cooperating with that," said Joel Cherry, a spokesman with SaskPower. 

Flags at SaskPower locations across the province are currently at half staff in honour of the two men.

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