Kirkland Lake Gold says fire scare at their mine was handled well – by Alan S. Hale (Timmins Daily Press – March 16, 2016)

Kirkland Lake Gold is pleased with how professionally all their employees handled a fire scare at their mine on Monday afternoon. Within an hour of a potential fire being reported, all the underground workers had been accounted for and were gathered in the mine’s refuge stations waiting for the all-clear.

Vice-president of operations Chris Stewart said the situation could not have gone more smoothly.

“From out perspective, everything in the emergency response plan did exactly what it was supposed to do. Having everyone in a mine as spread out as ours reporting in and accounted for in one hour is certainly a benchmark time,” he said. “Overall, it turned out essentially to be a drill. But you don’t know that when you go down there.”

According to Stewart, the cause of the alarm was a battery pack in one of the mine’s scooptrams. Workers in the mine’s battery bay on the 5,300 level had removed a bolt from the machine’s battery pack and had spotted fire inside through the open hole.

The area was evacuated, and the workers notified the surface of the situation. Stench gas was released into the mine to notify all the workers to head to the refuge stations.

“At the same time, we mobilized mine and rescue teams to our site. We had one team already on site, so they were ready immediately. We had two more teams from town made up of our people, and one one come from our East Timmins operation, and one more team on standby,” recalled Stewart. “So we mobilized five teams in one hour.”

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