Few Details, but New Theory in Lakeland Tragedy
Prince George, B.C. – Maintenance Supervisor Jason Rustad doesn’t recall much about events prior to the explosion and fire that destroyed the Lakeland Mills April 23rd 2012.
Rustad has testified at the coroner’s Inquest into the deaths of Alan Little and Glenn Roche, that while he “typically” would escort the Fire Prevention Officer through the mill during a fire inspection, he doesn’t recall conversations he may have had with Captain Steve Feeney about fire code deficiencies.
Rustad testified he was not aware that having a Fire Safety Plan was a requirement of the Fire Code. He also testified that he believed someone in administration was developing such a plan when two subsequent re-inspections noted the plan had yet to be developed.
Even though letters to the mill specified the sections of the Fire Code that were in violation and what was needed, Rustad said he did not look further into the matter “I didn’t have a copy of the Fire Code.”
According to Rustad, he would “typically” discuss the fire code deficiencies with his superior Garth Turner, but testified he cannot recall any specifics of such a conversation.
According to previous testimony of Brian Primrose, there was a heated argument over who was responsible for clean up. Primrose was of the mind that it was the job of maintenance and testified Rustad argued it was Production’s responsibility. But Rustad says he has no recollection of such a discussion.
He also testified he can’t recall hearing about a fire incident which created a fireball ( January 19th, 2011) but then said he “may have talked about it to Bruce Germyn.”
About the only thing which he expressed any confidence at all, was that there was methane under the mill site. That some testing had been done, methane detected, and he advised that methane not be ruled out as a possible source of the initial blast.
He told the Coroner’s inquest that when preparing to build the new mill, and digging down to clear gravel, they pulled up all sorts of debris from what was a former landfill “Cars, purses, baby carriages, the bumper of a car, shiny , shiny chrome, just all bent up” were all items pulled to the surface.
Although not presented to the jury, a previous story on 250News detailed how the new mill was built with that methane in mind after numerous test holes had come back positive for methane the article states ” the new facility is now surrounded by methane wells, the concrete slab is over a ground venting system, and the methane is pumped out and allowed to dissipate. Similar wells, pumps and dispersion systems will be added to the planer and kiln areas.”
The inquest continues.