Fatal farm accident reinforces need to watch for power lines

Northeastern Saskatchewan’s Carrot River Valley remains in shock after the death of 61-year-old Francis Rodier in a farming accident.

Rodier, who was chief executive officer of Can Pro Ingredients Inc. of Arborfield, Sask., was operating a sprayer in a field June 1 when his boom came in contact with a power line.

RCMP officers from the Carrot River detachment said they responded to the scene near Highway 55, where a sudden death had been reported.

Police have since completed their investigation, which is now in the hands of the province’s occupational health and safety division.

“Nobody in town is talking about it. It’s such a horrific accident,” said a community member.

Added a close friend of the deceased: “He ran into the power line, it’s as simple as that.… There’s all sorts of safety concerns there all the time, so an accident was an accident.”

The community member said the incident was discovered by a male driver who passed a plume of smoke that seemed out of place.

The community member, who later talked to the driver, said the driver immediately phoned 911, and the sprayer exploded shortly after.

Can Pro Ingredients operates a bio-refinery that turns alfalfa and canola into canola oil, canola protein concentrate and high-protein alfalfa.

“He will be greatly missed,” said a co-worker at the company.

The company said in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Rodier’s family during this most difficult time.”

Rodier leaves behind his wife and three children. The funeral was held in Arborfield June 8.

Fred Bradshaw, MLA for the riding of Carrot River Valley, said it was a tragic accident that affects all farmers in the area.

“We have some of these accidents seem to happen every year and they’re hard on families, they’re hard on everyone,” he said.

Bradshaw said he sprayed for 21 years before becoming an MLA and understands the importance of spatial awareness.

“Most of the lines are buried around there. That was done years ago.… When you get used to not having power lines, you don’t watch for them as much,” Bradshaw said.

“We want people to remember there still are power lines out there.”

Contact tennessa.wild@producer.com

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