The CCU and its affiliated unions are shocked and saddened by the tragic events that took place in Prince George, British Columbia on April 23. Two workers have been killed and twenty three injured after a massive explosion and fire ripped through the Lakefield Sawmill. Many workers helped each other to escape the building in time, as the fire consumed entire floors and walls of the structure.
Brian Cox, First Vice-President of the United Steelworkers Local 1-424, described the scene simply as “gruesome.”
Fire crews are still at the mill, and it could take almost two full days to completely extinguish the fires. WorkSafe BC is investigating the causes. This is the second tragedy this year in British Columbia. In January, an explosion and fire killed two workers at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake, about 230 kilometres northwest of Prince George.
This comes at a time when the labour movement in Canada is preparing for the Day of Mourning on April 28, when we remember workers who have lost their lives on the job. Over 1,000 Canadians die every year from workplace accidents and illnesses. The recent events in Prince George forces us in the labour movement to re-double our efforts in working together to ensure greater health and safety standards on the job, so that further tragedies will be avoided.
During this incredibly difficult time, our thoughts are with our sisters and brothers of the United Steelworkers Local 1-242, the people of Prince George, and all the pulp and mill workers throughout British Columbia.