Prince George, B.C.- The inquest into the deaths of Alan Little and Glenn Roche is underway with the first two witnesses telling the Coroner’s jury that both men had concerns about the cleanliness of the Lakeland Mill.
The two men died, 22 others were injured, when the mill erupted in flames in April of 2012.Joanna Burrows, common law partner of Alan Little, testified he was stressed in the months before the fatal explosion in April of 2012, concerned about increased production levels and the levels of sawdust in the facility. She said there was one time he came home covered in what she described as “snowdrifts of sawdust” that his curly hair was caked in sawdust.
She talked about Alan Little suffering chest pains, and grinding his teeth at night as he became concerned about the state of the mill and that he “felt safety was being compromised.”.
Those concerns were repeated in testimony from Rhonda Roche, widow of Glenn Roche. She read a statement, describing Glenn as a loving husband and father, who was a cleanliness “freak” and that just before the Babine mill explosion ( in January of 2012) helped put out a fire at Lakeland “He said the air in front of him was on fire.” She said that when Babine Forest Products Mill in Burns Lake exploded and burned to the ground, Glenn was “Almost in tears, he said I think we could be next and it could take me too.”
She sais Glenn was concerned enough about the state of the Lakeland Mill that he wanted to make sure their family bank account was high because he feared the mill would burn to the ground and there would be no income to cover them.
The Coroner Lisa LaPointe has permitted framed images of the two men to remain in the courtroom during the course of the inquest as a reminder of why this inquest is underway.
The inquest expects to hear from 47 witnesses, and is scheduled to take three weeks,