Six Months After the Tragic Babine Forest Product Mill Explosion
Breakfast held to remember a sad day in Burns Lake history
It was -30 on January 20th when a fire ball ripped thru the Babine Forest products sawmill. Now, half a year later employees remember it like it was yesterday. Babine Forest Product Mill Employee Derek McDonald say “When I came out after the explosion, there was no roof on our heads and I just looked up and I was wondering what happened and I gathered that and I looked and I just knew that I had to get out.” Mill Employee Darryl Bens “Seeing all the dust off the ceiling there and all of that got ignited and the next thing I knew I was out like a light, but according to co-workers I was conscious and yelling for help but one of my co-workers came and got me and help me get out of the mill.” Mill Employee Melvin Joseph says, “I thought it was a small explosion but when I got there the whole roof was gone.”
The community pulled together during this time and the victims of the explosion show nothing but gratitude. When speaking to the crowd today during the breakfast these were some of the comments, for the employees. “I just want to thank all of you guys for pulling together in that moment that we went through.” “I want thank all you guys for coming out 6 month after the tragedy.”
There is hope that a mill will be rebuilt and for others they want answers before a new mill is even a thought. Bens says “I want the mill to be rebuilt, this mill is a saw mill town, my dad worked at the saw mill my grandpa worked at the saw mill and I worked there for 5 years.”
Maintenance Superintendent Babine Forest Products Ltd. Peter Marshall said “I believe that we will get that mill and we will rebuild. We need everyone to pull together.”
Babine Forest Product Mill Employee Dirk Weisseich, is wanting answers about how the explosion happened before a new mill is in the works, “For Before we do it I think we should investigate what has happened I mean we lost two good men in this explosion and for myself I wouldn't go back to that work place.”
Breakfast have been put on once a week since the tragedy at the Margaret Patrick Memorial hall for the sawmill employees and families, and are still ongoing.