I think the community is still trying to come to terms with the devastation that happened at Babine Forest Products last weekend.
A disaster of this proportion is a lot for any community to deal with, most certainly for a small community like Burns Lake.
It seems that people went above and beyond to do everything they could to help.
The air in Burns Lake was thick with sirens on Friday night.
Ambulances and community member’s vehicles steadily arrived at the Lakes District Hospital, bringing in injured mill employees. As I stood at the hospital, I still couldn’t believe that something like this could have happened.
The pain and sorrow on the faces of family and friends that were waiting for news about their loved ones, was too much to bear.
One mill employee I spoke with outside the hospital said he couldn’t hear anything due to the explosion being so loud. His face was covered in black soot, his hair was standing on end and his clothing was charred. He said he was fine, but he didn’t look it.
His main concern was not for himself, but for his fellow coworkers who were being wheeled in on stretchers to the hospital. He said he was there to help them. Others too, were there to help in any way they could. This sums up the community we live in.
Most locals probably know someone that works at Babine Forest Products, which goes to show how important the mill is to the community. Over the past few days I have heard people say that Babine Forest Products is the backbone of the community. I think perhaps, that while the mill may be the economic backbone of the community, the people of the Lakes District have proven to be the true backbone that holds the community together. The strength, the resilience, the compassion and the generosity that I have seen over the past few days is astounding and it is something that Burns Lake can stand tall and be proud of.
I know people are desperate for answers and investigators are on the scene trying to answer those questions. As the hours and days tick by, it is important to remember that these things will take time.
Premier Christy Clark showed her support for Burns Lake by visiting the community last weekend. I hope however, that the government is able to come up with more than just words of condolence. This community needs help and support and as time passes this need will become more evident. The Premier is right when she says that’s what the government is there for …. so I hope the help is adequate, relevant and comes quickly.
To the family and friends of all the mill employees, our thoughts are with you all. In the words of 19 Century American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “We acquire the strength we have overcome.”