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Analysis of a Fire in a Colorado Coal Mine - a Case Study.

Timko RJ; Derick RL; Thimons ED
Proc 4th Int'l Mine Ventilation Congress Brisbane Austr July 1988 1988 Jul; 1(1):345-353
In early June 1986, a fire of unknown origin erupted in one of several main entries of a coal mine located in southwestern Colorado. The fire was aggressively fought with high-expansion foam. As a result of several strategic decisions, the fire appeared to be held in check. Unfortunately, sufficient quantities of foam were unavailable and as soon as the foam was depleted, control of the fire was lost. To prevent further damage and the possibility of an explosion, all entries to the mine were sealed. This Bureau of Mines paper recounts activities from the discovery of the fire to the initial reentry of the sealed mine including location of the fire, the decisions made to best combat it, and the steps taken to rapidly and securely seal the mine when this became necessary. The mine operator requested the Bureau's assistance in obtaining and analyzing mine fire gases taken from sampling ports placed through the mine seals. This report describes how samples were taken and what gases were analyzed. In addition, this work describes the initial exploration of the sealed mine by personnel using oxygen breathing apparatus.
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
OP 95-88
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proc. 4th Int'l. Mine Ventilation Congress (Brisbane, Austr) July 1988, V. 1, No. 1, Pp 345-353
Page last reviewed: November 19, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division