We’ve just passed the 95th anniversary of the Hollinger Mine fire of 1928.
For the next couple weeks in our Timmins history feature, we’ll learn about it, and how it led to the creation of mine rescue in Ontario.
Timmins Museum director-curator Karen Bachmann tells us the fire started on February 10th, at 550 feet underground.
Instead of bringing garbage up to the surface, the Hollinger simply piled it into unused stopes.
“All that stuff heated up a bit and the combustibles just sort of ignited and that’s what started the fire,” says Bachmann.
Some miners thought the alarm was a prank, until the mine started filling up with smoke and carbon monoxide.
“Some people tried to get out, tried to climb the manwayd” Bachmann recounts. “Those that were below the 550-foot level, they couldn’t make it past the fire, so they stayed behind. Those are some of the people that were in really dire straits.”
The death toll was 39 miners.
Next Monday: The shocked reaction of the community to the fire.