Power line contact proves fatal for Sask. businessman

A senior official with a biorefinery plant in northeastern Saskatchewan has been identified as the victim of a fatal farming accident earlier this month.

Francis Rodier, chief executive officer of Can Pro Ingredients Inc. in Arborfield, died June 1 when the boom of the sprayer he was operating 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 completed their investigation, which is now in the hands of the province’s occupational health and safety division.

“He ran into the power line, it’s as simple as that,” said a close friend of Rodier.

“There’s all sorts of safety concerns there all the time, so an accident was an accident.”

A 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 refinery that produces 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.”

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