An explosion occurred early this morning at Pinnacle Pellet in Burns Lake.

Fire and explosion at Pinnacle Pellet

A fire related incident occurred at the Pinnacle Pellet plant in the Burns Lake facility resulting in injuries to three employees.

At approximately 8:00 am. Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, a fire related incident occurred at the Pinnacle Pellet plant in the Burns Lake facility resulting in minor injuries to two employees and more serious, but not critical injuries to a third employee.

WorkSafeBC has been notified and the affected area of the plant has been secured to allow for a full investigation.

At the time of the incident, the plant was in a maintenance shutdown.  The fire was quickly contained and there are no reports of equipment damage.

Three workers were transported to Lakes District Hospital and Health Centre. Two patients with minor injuries are being transferred to the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George and one patient is being transferred to Vancouver.

Scott McCloy from WorksafeBC said, “WorkSafeBC Prevention officers arrived on scene at about noon. They will be working to determine what happened and why it happened. WorkSafeBC officers are coordinating with the RCMP and other regulatory bodies, including  the BC Safety Authority, in this regard. At this point, it is difficult to determine how long it will take to determine the cause, but our hope is to determine the cause quickly.  It is my understanding that the three workers were in the dryer area at the time of the incident. We have not at this point determined whether there was an explosion or a fire.”

Luke Strimbold, Mayor of the Village of Burns Lake, said, “On behalf of our entire community, I would like to extend our thoughts, prayers, and support for a healthy recovery to the workers of Pinnacle Pellet.”

“After everything Burns Lake has endured over the last few years, this news was especially troubling. I know people across B.C. are praying for those injured. Burns Lake is a resilient community that has proven its character time and again in difficult situations,”  said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.

WorkSafeBC last inspected this mill on June 17, 2014. At the time of that inspection it was determined that combustible dust issues were being managed.  The mill has not been inspected since that time.  However, WorkSafeBC launched another combustible dust effort related to the pellet industry on Oct. 1 and the Burns Lake facility is on the schedule to be inspected.

More on this story at a later date as the investigation continues.