Explosion and fire destroys Lakeland Sawmill in Prince George

The Prince George fire department was called to a report of an explosion at the Lakeland Sawmill located on River Road in Prince George.

  • Apr. 24, 2012 8:00 a.m.

An explosion and fire ripped through the Lakeland Sawmill in Prince George last night.

Update: The BC Coroners Service has confirmed the identity of the second male who died following an explosion and fire at the Lakeland sawmill in Prince George.

The deceased was Glenn Francis Roche, aged 46, of Prince George.

Roche was working at the sawmill on the evening of April 23, 2012, when the mill was rocked by a large explosion and fire at about 9:38 p.m.

He was taken to the University Hospital of Northern B.C. immediately after the blast, and then transferred by air ambulance to hospital in Edmonton for more specialized treatment.

However, despite aggressive medical intervention, he passed away during the early evening of April 24.

The BC Coroners Service has also now confirmed the identity of another man who died following an explosion and fire at the Lakeland sawmill.

The deceased was Alan Little, aged 43, of Prince George.

Little was a shift supervisor at the sawmill on the evening of April 23, 2012, when the mill was rocked by a large explosion and fire at about 9:38 p.m.

He was taken to the University Hospital of Northern BC immediately after the blast, but died there several hours later.

The BC Coroners Service has begun an investigation into the death, which will be done in cooperation with the RCMP, the City of Prince George Fire Service, and WorkSafeBC. His family is aware of his death.

Prince George fire crews and the RCMP continue to maintain a perimeter on River Road after an explosion and fire occurred at the Lakeland Sawmill in Prince George at approximately 9:38 p.m. last night.

Previously: The Prince George fire department was called to a report of an explosion and fire at the Lakeland Sawmill located on River Road in Prince George.

Emergency crews, BC Ambulance and Prince George RCMP attended the scene to find the sawmill engulfed in flames.

Emergency crews were advised that there was approximately 50 employees on site at the time of the explosion.

The 25 employees working in the planer mill at the time were uninjured as the explosion had occurred in the filing area of the mill.

The remaining 25 employees have been accounted for and 24 workers were transported to the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia (UHNBC) with injuries ranging from minor to severe burns.

Thirteen employees have now been released from hospital.

The BC Coroners Service has now launched an investigation into the deaths of two men, which will be undertaken in conjunction with the RCMP, the City of Prince George Fire Service and WorkSafe BC.

Four patients are being transferred by air ambulance from UHNBC. Three to Vancouver General Hospital and one patient will be transferred to Edmonton for further treatment.

Six remain at UHNBC in serious condition.

Prince George fire chief John Lane advised that the fire was too dangerous to maintain and therefore crews were letting the fire burn out.

“At this stage it is too early to determine a cause as the fire is expected to burn for at least 24 hours,” he said,

Lakeland Sawmill is located in an industrial area of Prince George near the CN Railway yard which was not affected by the fire, however some Prince George residents have reported that their homes were shaken by the blast.

This explosion and fire comes just three months after the Babine Forest Products sawmill fire and explosion that injured 19 employees and resulted in  two local men passing away.

 

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