Fire Safety Plans Yet to be Approved
Prince George, B.C. – The Coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Alan Little and Glenn Roche continues with this morning’s focus on fire prevention.Fire Prevention Officer Captain Steve Feeney was on the stand and has testified there have been no fire safety plans for mills in this community approved. That large industry could be allowed to operate without an approved plan seemed to catch John Orr, Counsel for the Coroner off guard, “It seems incomprehensible” .
Captain Feeney explained that while Lakeland and the P..G. sawmill have submitted Fire Safety Plans to Prince George Fire Rescue for approval, the plans have been rejected because of a formatting problem. In other words, the content of the plans are fine, the document just doesn’t meet the formatting needs of Fire Rescue.
Feeney had visited the Lakeland site five times in the year and a half before the April 23rd explosion. One particular visit, November of 2011, he noted significant amounts of dust “It was the worst I had even seen”, but when he returned in March of 2012, said the mill was very clean, there was no significant build up of dust, and noted the clean up efforts “had not gone unnoticed” in his report.
Captain Feeney also noted during those five visits there was no fire safety plan. He testified that at that time, lack of a fire safety plan was not reason for a re-inspection. That has since changed, “I will re-inspect for it, and I will continue to re-inspect for it” said Captain Feeney.
Feeney also said it would be helpful if there were more enforcement tools made available, and if inspections were done in conjunction with WorkSafe BC and the BC Safety Authority.