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Bygone Stanley Disaster at Parkhill Colliery

A DISASTER AT PARKHILL COLLIERY

On Monday 17th October 1919 a fire starred at the surface at Parkhill Colliery. There was no serious injury but the damage was extensive and as a result many men were unemployed until the damage had been repaired.

The fire started at approximately 5 pm. Flames were seen coming from the screens surrounding the shafts which served the Haigh Moor and Silkstone seams. Wakefield Fire Brigade sent two engines and one was sent for from Stanley Fire Brigade. There was reported to be 20 firemen engaged in fighting the fire.

At the time of the fire, men were working underground. They were in danger of the ventilation being so contaminated by the fumes from the fire that, had not quick enough action been taken, there could have been a loss of life from the effects of breathing fumes which contained a high percentage of carbon monoxide.

These fumes were being taken down the downcast shaft into the ventilation stream which ventilated the mine. The Wakefield Miners Rescue team was sent for and they arrived promptly, fitting their rescue apparatus and entering the mine via the upcast shaft. The men had been alerted and all were wound out of the upcast shaft before being overcome by the gaseous fumes from the fire. The management were alert in stopping the main ventilation fan for a short period in order to minimise the quantity of air, contaminated with fumes, entering and being carried through the workings where men and ponies were at work.

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