Fire broke out Thursday morning — with some reports of an explosion — at the Pinnacle Renewable Energy Plant in Burns Lake, BC. Three workers were injured, one seriously. The facility was under maintenance curtailment.
The company had been charged this year almost $50,000 by WorkSafeBC for repeated incidents of dust collection at the plant.
its plant in Strathnaver south of Prince George was fined $36,223, also for safety lapses. Its plant in Quesnel was fined $31,380 following an inspection in May.
Pellet Mill Fire
The Burns Lake plant was last inspected on June 17, and no problems were found,
“When the responders arrived at the pellet plant they found that the fire had been completely extinguished by the plant’s built-in suppression system,” said a statement released by Burns Lake village on Thursday.
The crew used their heat sensing equipment to address small hot spots in the dryer, and assisted ambulance attendants with the injured workers.
The equipment at the mill was not significantly damaged by the fire.
Recent WorkSafeBC changes mean that if inspectors find any reason for possible charges relating to the Pinnacle explosion that a separate investigative team will be brought in to preserve evidence related to pursuing that charge.
The Canadian Wood Pellet Association and The B.C. Forest Safety Council are working together to improve dust safety with the formation of a committee that includes all pellet manufacturers in B.C. A workshop in dust safety was held recently in Prince George.