• Family seeks answers in Nipawin explosion deaths


    Nipawin, Saskatchewan.

    CBC News Canada


    The family of a man killed in a natural gas explosion in Nipawin wants to know why charges against SaskEnergy were stayed.

    Two men died in the explosion on April 18, 2008, that also destroyed three buildings and damaged others in the town 250 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

    Self-employed backhoe operator Lorry Riemer is accused of digging too close to a natural gas line while working on vacant lots in the town. He is charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act with failing to keep mechanical equipment a safe distance away from a gas pipeline and failing to ensure his actions did not expose others to safety risks.

    During his trial, a document came to light that faulted the provincial Crown corporation SaskEnergy for not cutting gas service or evacuating the area before the explosion.

    Anne Boxall is the sister-in-law of Jack Boxall, one of the men that died.

    "Sask Energy is supposed to be the expert in this field for answering to these calls and making judgments as to what is to be done," Boxall told CBC News. "Was that done?"

    Charges against SaskEnergy, relating to the explosion, were laid but then were were abandoned by prosecutors.

    "I'm baffled," Boxall said about the decision to not proceed against the gas company.

    The prosecutor on Riemer's case declined to comment.

    The trial of the contractor concluded earlier this week.

    The judge's decision is expected in April.