The Town of Terrace Bay is in shock today after an explosion at the Terrace Bay Pulp Mill killed one worker and injured two more.
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The mayor of Terrace Bay says the entire community is grieving the loss of a Buchanan Pulp Sales employee who died in an explosion at the local pulp mill.
An explosion at Terrace Bay pulp mill killed one man and injured two others Monday afternoon. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The cause of the explosion is still unknown.
Terrace Bay Mayor Mike King said he didn’t know how big the explosion was, but heard from officials at the fire department that there was quite a bit of damage to the area and to the roof. He also heard that there was a lot of smoke, but no visible flames.
The entire community now appears saddened to hear the tragic news.
“I think the town is certainly grieving,” King said Tuesday. “The entire community is grieving for the loss of our resident. In that regard, it was very tragic and devastating to the community.”
The mill, owned by the Buchanan Pulp Sales, re-opened last November after being in creditor protection for 19 months.
At the time of the March 2009 closure, the mill employed 385 people. The mill produces finer-type papers, such as those used for tissues, feminine products and diapers.
The province provided a $25-million loan guarantee to ensure the plant would re-open.
King said there was still maintenance being done since the plant reopened.
“We know the mill is down for a little while, but we haven’t heard yet from the company how long it will be down for,” he said.
“If the mill were to close permanently, that would definitely be a drastic outcome. It is the major employer here as well as for other communities. If that were to happen, it wouldn’t be a good scenario. Nobody is saying that at this point.”
King added that the mill has had incidents in the past, but for the most part had a good track record in the community for being a safe place to work.
“There have been fatalities there, couple of them in the past but that was over a long period of time,” he said.
“From time to time there are tragedies, like there could be at any worksite, but I think overall the mill has a pretty good record. We don’t hear about workers being injured there on regular basis.”
Will Lin, a spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Labour, said the ministry was notified shortly after the incident happened.
He said a 40-foot high tank that contained brown stock exploded. Brown stock is pulp that is baked and boiled into a thick oatmeal-like substance.
The Ministry of Labour sent two inspectors and an engineer to Terrace Bay to secure the scene.
Lin said he didn’t know how long the investigation will last.
“At this moment there haven't been any orders issued to stop work,” Lin said.
“We’ve secured the scene so there’s no work going on there. I can’t speak to this case specifically in terms of how it is going to play out, but just in general, our investigators will determine if there are any hazards and if there has been any violations of the Occupations and Health Safety Act. They will also look into what lead to the incident.”
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