BC Sawmill Explosions In Burns Lake, Prince George Referred To Crown

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A large fire burns at the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday April 24, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Johnson) | CP

Health and safety investigators are asking B.C. Crown counsel to review its investigation into deadly explosions at two sawmills.

WorkSafeBC finished its probe into the January blast at the Babine Forest Products Co. in Burns Lake, which killed two workers and injured 20.

It also investigated the April explosion at Prince Geroge's Lakeland Mills Ltd. that killed two workers and injured 22 others.

The agency announced Thursday it is recommending that the Crown look over its findings, but stressed that does not mean it's linked to any possible criminal charges, reported CBC News.

If criminal charges are laid, the owners could face fines of up to $500,000 and maximum jail terms of six months, said Roberta Ellis, spokeswoman for WorkSafe BC.

Different companies own the two mills but a buildup of combustible wood dust were found to be an ignition factor in the explosions.

WorkSafe BC has referred about a dozen cases to the Crown for further investigation since 1999, said Ellis.

With files from The Canadian Press

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