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Canada sawmill blast kills 1, injures 23

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 12:28 PM EDT, Tue April 24, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: One person has died in the explosion and fire
  • The cause of the blast is not immediately known
  • The sawmill has been destroyed, fire chief says

(CNN) -- An explosion at a sawmill in western Canada has killed one person and injured 23 others, officials said Tuesday.

The blast happened in Prince George, British Columbia.

Ten people remained hospitalized Tuesday morning. Another 13 had been treated and released, according to a statement from University Hospital of Northern British Columbia.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

"When it initially hit, I could have sworn that it was an earthquake," local radio host Matt Porteous, who lives about 10 blocks from Lakeland Mills, told CNN affiliate CTV.

Porteous drove to the mill, where he saw a "massive wall of flames." Windows had been blown out of businesses several blocks away, he said Tuesday.

The sawmill portion of the mill as well as the log processing and sorting facilities were all destroyed, Prince George Fire Chief John Lane told CNN affiliate CBC.

By Tuesday morning, the fire had been contained to the sawmill, but it could be another 24 to 48 hours before the blaze is extinguished, Lane said.

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