BC Coroners Service to hold public inquest into deaths of two workers when explosion, fire, engulfed Babine Forest Products sawmill near Burns Lake in Jan. 2012; chief coroner says inquest's goal is to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances

VANCOUVER, British Columbia , January 22, 2014 (press release) – The BC Coroners Service has announced it will hold a public inquest into the deaths of two workers who died as a result of an explosion at the Babine Forest Products sawmill near Burns Lake in January 2012.

Robert Luggi Jr., aged 45, and Carl Charlie, aged 42, died when a massive explosion and fire engulfed the sawmill shortly after 8 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2012. Twenty other workers were injured in the blast.

Earlier this month Crown counsel announced that no criminal or regulatory charges will be approved in relation to the explosion and fire.

Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said that after reviewing the investigations to date in the case, she has concluded there is benefit to holding an inquest to publicly examine the circumstances of the incident with the goal of preventing future deaths in similar circumstances.

An inquest is a formal process that allows for public presentation of evidence relating to a death.

During the inquest, presiding coroner Chico Newell and a jury will hear evidence from subpoenaed witnesses to determine the facts surrounding these deaths. An inquest jury may not, by law, make any findings of fault or legal responsibility; however, it will have the opportunity to make recommendations related to the evidence presented.

The dates and location of the inquest will be announced once confirmed.

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