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Update: Pinnacle investigates cause of dryer explosion and fire at Entwistle


February 22, 2019
By Pinnacle Renewable Energy

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Pinnacle Renewable Energy opened its new pellet facility in central Alberta in Spring 2018.

Feb. 22, 2019 - The temporary suspension of operations continues at Pinnacle Renewable Energy's wood pellet production facility in Entwistle, Alta., following a fire and explosion on Feb. 11 that damaged the dryer area.

One contractor remains in hospital and six employees and five contractors were treated for minor injuries as a result of the accident. The cause of the incident is unknown and a formal investigation is still underway by Alberta Labour Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). The site has been released back to Pinnacle.

All employees’ wages and benefits will continue during the investigative process. Production from dry fibre is expected to resume in March and a decision will be made on when full production at the facility will resume following the outcome of the investigation.

“At Pinnacle, safety is a core value. We are committed to providing a safe environment for our staff, contractors and the people who live nearby in the community,” says Leroy Reitsma, president and chief operating officer. “We are committed to providing a safe work place that reflects our care for staff and contractors.”

What Pinnacle is doing while the plant is shut down:

  • Engaged a professional critical incident counsellor who is on site offering personalized one-on-one counselling, group sessions and home visits
  • Continue wages and benefits for all employees as we work through the investigation
  • Held meetings with our employees last week to provide an update as to the status of injured workers, our commitment to safety, cooperation with the investigation process and support for employees through this incident
  • Meetings were led by Rob McCurdy, CEO; Leroy Reitsma, president and COO; Scott Bax, senior vice-president of operations and Steven Mueller, director of health and safety. All were available for one-on-one meetings after the group sessions.

“Over the coming days and weeks, we will work with the Entwistle team, as well as Alberta OHS and the Chief Fire Marshal of Parkland County to ensure a full understanding of the factors that contributed to this event and the course of action required to move forward in a way that reflects our values,” says Leroy Reitsma.

RELATED: Advancing east: Pinnacle finds new opportunities in Alberta


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