In the evening of January 20, 2012 a massive explosion and fire destroyed the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, a remote community of about 3,600 people in northern BC.
The fire, the worst industrial accident in BC in a generation, killed two workers and injured another nineteen. The destruction of the mill also put 250 members of the United Steelworkers out of work and will have a devastating effect on the entire town’s economy, thanks to the many spin-off jobs created by the local forestry industry.
On January 27th the United Steelworkers announced the launch of a fundraising appeal and the creation of a trust account to provide support to the workers of Babine Forest Products and their families. The labour movement in quickly responded and USW was inundated with offers of support and assistance from other unions and union members across the country.