BURNS LAKE, BC -- Rescuers have recovered two bodies from the rubble of the Babine Forest Products sawmill, which was leveled in an explosion Friday night.
The coroners office was trying to determine if the remains are those of the two mill employees that were unaccounted for, according to the Toronto Sun. The newspaper also noted that 11 of the 19 workers who required medical treatment remained hospitalized as of late Monday.
Investigators were also continuing to attempt to pinpoint the cause of the explosion that was believed to involve natural gas.. One eyewitness said flames shot 100 feet into the air.

Hampton Affiliates of Portland, OR, which owns the mill, issued a statement today expressing its condolences to the workers and families affected by the tragedy.

"At about 8 p.m. on January 20, several Babine employees called 911 to report a serious accident at the sawmill. It is believed that an explosion occurred, resulting in a fire that completely destroyed the sawmill. The planer mill apparently survived the fire. At the time of the accident there were approximately 60 employees on the site, including 37 in the sawmill," Hampton said.

Steve Zika, Hampton CEO was said to be on site to assess the damage and monitor the investigation. “At this time our focus is on caring for our injured and grieving employees. We are not speculating on the cause of the accident and will let the proper authorities complete their investigation, Zika said. "No decisions will be made on restarting the planer mill or rebuilding the sawmill until more facts are known and our employees are properly cared for.”

One of the injured workers told the Herald News that the mill had experienced two small fires in recent weeks.
The Babine Forest Products mill is located in a remote area of British Columbia, more than 600 miles north of Vancouver. It is a joint venture operated in conjunction with the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation of Burns Lake. The mill has an annual production capacity of 350 MMBF and produces studs and framing lumber from spruce, pine and fir.
  


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