March 10, 2016 | Barb Carr

Remembering an Accident: Courrières Mine Disaster

On March 10, 1906, the worst European mining disaster occurred killing 1,099 workers. An underground fire caused a massive coal dust explosion, causing a chain reaction through out the vast mine.

What Happened? 

Around 3pm on March 9, a fire began in the Cecil pit. The workers tried to extinguish the fire but nothing was working. They decided to close the pit outlets and starve the fire of all its’ oxygen. Believing the mine was safe to enter 1,795 workers entered the mines. Later that morning a huge explosion came from the Cecil pit. The fire was still smoldering and there were fissures in the walls that let in flammable gases that became ignited by the fire.

When the gases ignited flames and debris shoot out of the tunnels opening. Many of the miners suffered sever burn injuries. It wasn’t until the flames subdued when a rescue party of 40 men descended into the tunnels. Unfortunately, the rescue men paid the ultimate price. While descending into the mines tunnels the shaft collapsed killing all 40 men.

To read more about this unfortunate disaster please click on the link below.

Learn more about how to find and fix root causes of potential accidents here:

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