Long day ends with rescue [Saskatchewan potash mine fire] – by Kerry Benjoe and Terrence McEachern (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – September 26, 2012)
After more than 16 hours trapped underground at the Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan mine in Rocanville, Darwyn Wirth admitted he was tired. And that he wanted a cold beer.
Wirth, a shift electrician with Potash-Corp from Churchbridge, was one of 15 miners brought to the surface at 6: 42 p.m. on Tuesday. His shift started just over a day earlier at 6: 30 p.m. on Monday. At 1: 56 a.m. Tuesday morning his normal work day was interrupted when a fire broke out in the mine.
Twenty-nine miners were midway through their 12-hour shift when the fire alarm sounded. Nine miners were immediately evacuated, however the remaining 20 men sought safety in four refuge shelters throughout the mine. At 8: 15 p.m., the remaining five miners were brought to the surface.
The area where the fire broke out was 15 kilometres from the main Rocanville site and the shaft where workers enter and exit the underground mine. Wirth was the first person to spot the fire. He said at no point was he worried and described the experience as being “delayed” rather than trapped. Read the rest of this entry »