Miners Rescued After Underground Fire

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Barrick Gold officials say emergency training spared 48 miners any injury when they spent more than eight hours in a refuge chamber at the Rodeo Mine northwest of Carlin when a fire occurred Friday night.

Barrick Goldstrike Mines General Manager Steve Lang said rescue teams did a professional job and the trapped miners responded as they had been taught.

The mine is part of the Meikle complex and 70 miners on the Meikle side of the connected underground mines went to a refuge chamber after an alarm sounded as did 48 on the Rodeo side.

The Meikle miners were able to evacuate less than three hours after the signal when ventilation experts determined the air was clear.

The other 48 remained below until two mine rescue teams worked their way slowly through Rodeo, checking out the fire site and evaluating the air quality.

The fire started in a contractor's compressor, and the contractor cut off the power to the equipment and made the emergency call, according to Craig Ross, the safety and health superintendent for the two mines.

The fire went out on its own in a short time, he said, but there was smoke.

"We have to be extremely cautious about any underground fire,"Lang said."We went through the whole protocol so it took awhile to get them all evacuated."