Up to eight workers critically injured in explosion, fire at Sinclar Group's Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, British Columbia

LOS ANGELES , April 24, 2012 () – An explosion and fire on Monday evening at Sinclar Group Forest Products' Lakeland Mills Ltd. sawmill in Prince George, British Columbia has injured 21 workers, some critically, according to a report by The Canadian Press. Up to eight workers were said to be in a critical condition.

Brian Croy, first VP of the United Steelworkers Local 1-424, said the explosion was "almost like a cannon going off," and described some of the terrible injuries he saw after workers were burned.

After the main explosion at about 9.45 p.m., Croy said he heard smaller explosions going off as he and other workers escaped the scene.

Five workers were initially unaccounted for, but authorities say they are now confident no one has been left inside the mill.

A statement issued by Sinclar Group confirmed that 25 workers were taken to hospital. The Canadian Press reported that 21 of the 25 workers were treated in hospital. Of those, Northern Health Authority spokesman Steve Raper said, seven or eight were in a critical condition and three were airlifted to hospital in Vancouver.

Fire Chief John Lane said the fire was too dangerous to contain, so crews were letting it burn out. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to one building on the mill site.

The primary sources of this article are The Canadian Press, Prince George, British Columbia, and a statement issued by Sinclar Group Forest Products on April 24, 2012.

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