NEWS

Lakeland Mills sawmill reopening brings back painful memories of fatal explosion

12/08/2014 09:17 EST | Updated 02/07/2015 05:59 EST
Lakeland Mills sawmill is reopening in Prince George, B.C. two years after an explosion and fire that engulfed the facility, killing two people and injured 24 others.

The company was fined $724,000 by WorkSafeBC this July, but no charges were ever laid in the deaths of Alan Little, 43, and Glenn Roche, 46, because of concerns over the admissibility of WorkSafeBC evidence.

Two years after the explosion, the mill has been entirely rebuilt and will reopen this week. For Bruce Germyn, whose face was severely burned in the fire, it all brings back painful memories.

"I remember crying for water, 'Where's the water, where's the water I need water,'" Germyn told CBC Prince Rupert.

Germyn said people at the hospital described his burns as so bad he was unrecognizable. Two years on, he's is still recovering from his injuries.

"I have severe pain in my ears, it's a burning sensation that doesn't go away and my face is as numb as a pin cushion," he said.

The Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion was partly blamed on an accumulation of wood dust, something company president Greg Stewart has said the new mill is designed to eliminate.

"We all have to work together to make sure we provide a safe work environment," Stewart told our reporter Rafferty Baker on Friday.

About 110 workers are returning to the mill, 50 fewer than before. Germyn will not be among them.

"I've been to the gate once, and that's it...It's still a real problem zone for me because of what I've seen, what I felt, what I've smelled. That stuff replays over and over."

Hear Rafferty Baker's report on the sawmill for CBC's Daybreak North by clicking the audio clip labelled: Lakeland sawmill reopening
 

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