One person is dead and scores other injured following an explosion and fire at Lakeland Mills Monday night.
The explosion occurred at 9:45 p.m. and it rocked homes and businesses throughout the downtown core and across the Nechako River.
Northern Health declared a Code Orange at 10 p.m. to deal with the casualties. The Code Orange was called off at 1:30 a.m. Northern Health confirmed this morning the single fatality.
Four people were transferred by air ambulance from UHNBC, three have been transferred to Vancouver and one patient will be transferred to Edmonton.
Six of the injured remain at UHNBC in serious but stable condition. Thirteen patients have been treated and released.
There were 24 employees working in the sawmill at the time of the incident. There were a further 16 employees in the planer mill and four employees working in the yard.
“We’re devastated by the news of this incident and our thoughts are with our employees and their families,” said Greg Stewart, president of Sinclar Group Forest Products.
“We will not speculate on the cause of the incident at Lakeland Mills until the proper authorities have completed their investigation. All of our attention right now is focused on ensuring our employees and their families receive the care they need.”
City Council members have offered support at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia to the families of those injured.
“The explosion and fire is devastating and our sole focus is for the well-being of everyone affected,” said Mayor Shari Green. “This is a difficult time and emergency and health responders are doing everything they can. Please pray for those injured and for the difficult road ahead for them, their families and our whole community.”