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Fire at Cyprus Plateau Mining Corporation's
Willow Creek Mine


Willow Creek Mine - (MSHA ID 42-02113)

On Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at approximately 6:20 pm, a mine fire occurred at the Cyprus Plateau Mining Corporation's Willow Creek Mine, which is located near Price, Utah. The accident occurred near the longwall tailgate area during normal coal production. No injuries resulted from the incident, however, several longwall crew members were knocked down by the ensuing rush of air. An orange colored flame was observed in the gob that appeared to move toward the face area and then back into the gob. The mine manager ordered an evacuation using a unique system which operates like a pager and is worn by most miners. This "PED" system (Personal Emergency Device), allows for constant contact with the miners, even those working in remote areas. After the accident, a message was sent to the miners -- "mine fire-evacuate". The miners were safely evacuated in about 45 minutes.

The mine manager reentered the mine to assess conditions and traveled the longwall tailgate entry to within about thirty crosscuts of the face area. The foreman encountered elevated temperatures in this area and exited the mine. The mine was temporarily sealed at the portals. On December 3, 1998, the injection of gaseous carbon dioxide was initiated into the fire area through a gob ventilation borehole inby the longwall face area. The injection process was completed on Monday, December 7, 1998 and mine atmospheric conditions are currently being monitored at several locations on the surface. The company has submitted an application for initial exploration into the mine which has been approved by MSHA. The initial exploration will provide information to determine procedures which will be used to recover the remaining areas of the mine.