Cullen slams decision for single inquest into northern sawmill explosions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AUGUST 8, 2014

SMITHERS – The BC Coroners Service decision this week to hold a single public inquest into four deaths at sawmill explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George is little more than a “tick box” in already badly flawed investigations, says Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

“This is an insult to the memories of the deceased individuals and hardly an exhaustive effort to protect people who continue to work at sawmills,” Cullen said.

“The decision to hold one inquest into these deadly explosions at separate mills doesn’t seem to value the loss of life and harm to families and communities.

“The federal inquiry into the decline of Fraser River sockeye took months and cost $26 million, but the best the BC government can manage to prevent future sawmill death and destruction is this.”

The Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake was completely destroyed in an explosion and fire on Jan. 20, 2012 that killed Robert Luggi Jr. and Carl Charlie and injured 19 others.  Two workers were also killed and over 20 injured in the April 23, 2012 blast at the Lakeland mill in Prince George.

The inquest into the incidents is set to begin March 2, 2015 in Prince George.

Contact: Shelley Browne, nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca; 250-877-4140