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Sawmill will be rebuilt in Burns Lake

The burned-out sawmill that was the lifeblood of a small northern BC town will be rebuilt, even as the prosecution considers charges into the deadly explosion and fire.

Oregon-based Hampton Affiliates confirmed plans it will rebuild Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake, west of Prince George, after making agreements with the BC government to secure timber supply.

The positive economic decision comes less than a week after the BC Crown was asked to review whether the company or individuals violated the provincial Workers Compensation Act.

Company CEO Steve Zika personally gave the news to workers in the small town, but made no mention of the probe in a release other than to say it is "actively participating" with WorkSafeBC and an industry taskforce on combustion risks.

Zika says the findings will be incorporated into the new sawmill, which will be two-thirds the size of the old mill due to log availability and is expected to start up in early 2014.

A WorkSafe investigation found dry wood dust fuelled a fiery explosion ignited by machine parts caused the tragedy that killed two workers and injured many more last January.

The Canadian Press


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