- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Company pleads guilty in carbon monoxide deaths

A Pictou County company plead guilty to three charges under the occupational health and safety act in a Pictou court Tuesday.

The charges were laid after the bodies of two people were found in a maintenance building on the company’s wind farm construction site in 2009.

RMSenergy Windfarm was under construction in the summer of 2009 when the bodies of Kyle Elliott,22, and Mandi Balagot, 18 were found.

They died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Elliott, a security guard for RMSenergy Ltd., was picking up some extra shifts at the site on Mount Thom, near New Glasgow, and Mandi Balagot was there to visit.

The pair ended up in an upstairs office at a maintenance shed where they died.

The company pled guilty to three charges under the provinces occupational health and safety act.

First, that they did not properly install the generator that caused the carbon monoxide gas, according to the manufacturers specifications and two counts of not ensuring the health and safety of the two people.

In a joint submission to Judge Del Atwood, the Crown said there were several mitigating factors including the fact that the pair should not have even been in the building.

The Crown and defence agreed to a fine of $45,000 along with a donation of $50,000 to a charity.

Kathleen Legere, Balagot’s mother, fought back tears as she read from her victim impact statement.

“I cry uncontrollably and have nightmares – my only comfort comes from visiting her grave daily,” she told the court.

She went on to say she suffers from severe depression and “a broken heart.”

In a statement from Elliott’s mother read to the court, she said, “My son was worth a lot more than a dollar amount” and that he had a lot to live for.

“I just hope they are held accountable and that it’s steep enough that it won’t happen to anyone else,” said Legere after the hearing.

“It’s a nightmare we never imagined we would lose our sister,” said Balagot’s sister Jolene Legere. “[She] meant everything to us, beyond words.”

“Nothing is going to bring her back, the family is all changed without her,” said Ryan Legere, Balagot’s brother.

Atwood said he would reserve his decision on sentencing until Aug. 31.

He said he wants to have another look at the joint submission presented by both Crown and defence, he also wants to have another look at the victim impact statements presented by the families.