Expert says Pike River still unsafe

January 17th, 2011 at 7:10 am by David Farrar

Keith Lynch in The Press reports:

A “marked improvement” in the atmosphere in the Pike River mine does not mean it is safe to re-enter, an Australian expert says.

Yesterday, the families of the 29 mine workers released a statement saying the decision to seal the Pike River Coal mine was wrong and needed to be revisited.

“There is a stable atmospheric environment now achieved which is likely to be sustained,” the statement said.

Mine safety expert Dr David Cliff, of the University of Queensland, said that while the atmosphere in the West Coast mine had improved, to say it was safe to enter was a “quantum leap”.

Personally I’d love it if the mine could be entered, but I am not an expert, and you really have to rely on expert advice on these things.

“The atmosphere is now inert without the use of the GAG [Gorniczy Agregat Gasniczy],” Cliff said.

“It’s not capable of supporting combustion. It’s full of methane, as far as we can detect.

“But then to say everything is OK, we can go enter the mine, that’s another quantum leap beyond that.”

The mine’s atmosphere was close to 100 per cent methane, with oxygen excluded, he said.

“Therefore it’s a dramatic improvement. There’s no active ignition sources in the mine, most probably, but we still don’t know for sure.”

If conditions were maintained, there would be “no more explosions”, Cliff said.

“The atmosphere is one part of the equation – there’s the mining conditions, it is the logistics of re-entering up a single tunnel that is 2.5-kilometres long into unknown conditions – these are the sort of factors bearing on people’s minds.”

Bore holes would be required to stabilise the mine, at a cost of $250,000 each.

If, and I stress if, that is all that is required to make the mine safe, then the price is well worth paying. However it is not at all clear that is all that is required.

I do have to say that the reasons the mine can’t be re-entered according to the experts has not been clearly communicated. Hopefully when the receivers submit their plans tonight, there might be more light on this.

Labour Party President adds to the muck raking

January 15th, 2011 at 9:22 am by David Farrar

Newstalk ZB reports:

EPMU secretary Andrew Little thinks sealing the mine would be wrong on at least two fronts.

“Making a decision to seal the mine now is not just a decision to leave the men down there, but a decision to say we’re not going to get the evidence to find out what really happened.”

Mr Little said the Government has let the families down and the union will continue to work with them to get justice.

Does Andrew have some magic way to enter the mine we do not know of?

Is Andrew speaking as Labour Party President or EPMU Secretary when he alleges any decision to seal the mine is part of a plot by the Government to conceal evidence?

The local Mayor is more rational:

Despite the union’s concerns, the Grey District Mayor said he is confident there will be enough evidence for the Pike River mine inquiry, even if the mine is sealed.

“They’re going to interview 400 (people) all up. They’ve got every single hard drive and computer from day one of Pike River coal. Even though they can’t get evidence from the mine, I feel there’s enough evidence out there to get to the bottom of this”, Tony Kokshoorn told Newstalk ZB.

Maybe Andrew could explain exactly what evidence he thinks still exists after weeks of thousand degree fires.

Pike River likely to be sealed

January 14th, 2011 at 9:56 am by David Farrar

After a couple of months of failure to make Pike River safe to enter, the Police announcement that the recovery operation will cease is no surprise.

It is deeply disappointing for the families. It will make it far harder to get closure.

From what I have read of conditions in the mine, there may not have been much in the way to recover – perhaps some bones and teeth. If the temperatures have been over 1000 degrees as some reports suggest, then it could be just teeth.

UPDATE: Labour shows there is no depth to which they won’t let Trevor descend to. And they wonder why they are so low in the polls. Everyone knows it is not about the money – but about the inability to safely enter the mine. This really is a new low in disgusting and crassness. One could almost see them celebrating the news the mine could not be entered safely, thinking “yay we can try and slime John Key with this”.

Kiwi help and gratitude

December 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Clayton Adams, whose brother Conrad died at Pike River, says thank you through the NZ Herald:

During the time we spent on the Coast the people of NZ and Greymouth have been unstinting in their support, kindness and generosity of spirit towards the workers’ and contractors’ families.

On our arrival friends of my brother provided accommodation to the family for several weeks and when we needed a second car they delivered a vehicle immediately for our use. But it was not just these larger more obvious offers of help that were so meaningful.

When I arrived my only pair of shoes fell apart so I resorted to using my brother’s jandals, which were 3 sizes too big. When one of Conrad’s friends found out they took my shoes away and returned them within an hour, repaired. Everyone wanted to do something to help. …

Donna at Kiwibank in Greymouth was amazing and without her support we would have struggled to manage the household finances in my brother’s absence.

In the initial days of waiting Air New Zealand provided a staff member for every family to assist them with the burden of the seemingly endless small tasks that filled our days and required decisions. This help was invaluable in removing the strain and pressure of arranging flights, accommodation and accessing the myriad offers of support provided by New Zealand companies.

Well done Kiwibank and Air New Zealand.

Later that night it seemed as if the whole of New Zealand had mobilised to provide any assistance they could, people who had never met my brother offered accommodation, meals and to pick family members up from the airport, baskets of food, supermarket vouchers, cash. There seemed to be no end to the generosity. Even kindergarten children baked biscuits and couriered them to the families in Greymouth.

If it was not for the compassion of my employer and the donations of fellow staff and workmates my wife and I would not have been able to dedicate two weeks to helping my brother’s children and providing support to them where we could.

No one should ever have to experience the intensity of the days while we waited and then the desolation as we realised our loved ones would not be returning to us, however the selflessness, generosity and compassion of the people of Greymouth and New Zealand has been humbling and I would like to publicly thank those people and companies who assisted us.

A very moving letter.

Both employer and union to blame

December 17th, 2010 at 10:43 am by David Farrar

Anna Leask at the Herald reported:

Staff at a North Island freezing works had their pay cut for the official two-minute silence to remember the 29 miners killed in the Pike River mine.

My reaction upon reading this first paragraph was to do a post lashing out at the employer as a bad employer who should be ashamed of themselves. Bad employers piss me off, because they make life hard for all the other employers.

But upon reading the full story, it is more nuanced. The employer is not without blame, but neitehr is the union. In fact the poor employees are the victims in a struggle between the two.

Staff at the Silver Fern Farms Te Aroha plant lost two cattle each from their daily quota – the equivalent of between 98c and $1.60 for each worker – after downing tools.

Staff are paid for each beast they process, and have a daily quota of 280 cattle.

It takes about 63 seconds to skin, gut and bone an animal.

Depending on their experience, workers are paid between 49c and 80c for each beast processed.

So my thought was why not just pay them for the two extra beasts, or alternatively just carry on working until 5.02 pm.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper said all workers were encouraged to observe the two-minute silence.

He said the local branch of the Meat Workers Union approached Silver Fern Farms in support of observing the memorial silence.

“As the meat workers are remunerated on the basis of throughput, Silver Fern Farms offered the union the opportunity for workers to process the missed two animals at the end of day as overtime.

“However the union declined the offer as a gesture of solidarity with Silver Fern Farms as an employer and in the spirit of comradeship with the West Coast workers.”

So the union refused to allow the workers to gain the money back.

When asked why Silver Fern Farms didn’t just pay the workers for the two cattle, a spokeswoman for Mr Cooper said it “just wasn’t an issue at the time”.

Well, it was still a dumb call. Yes you may be peeved at the union for refusing permission to work until 5.02 pm, but why not be a good employer and not punish the staff for doing the very decent thing of observing two minutes silence.

Union president Mike Nahu said the local union representative declined the overtime offer because the union did not want their tribute to the miners to be based on money.

He said workers had a clause in their contract saying they could have extra time at the end of a shift to process any remaining beasts.

“We chose not to make up the loss. It wasn’t about the money, it was about respect. They could have very well made it up, but that wasn’t the issue.”

He could not say if the local union representative explained the decision to all workers before the stoppage.

He said no one had approached the union to complain, but accepted some workers might not be happy with the decision to forgo the remaining beasts.

Basically both the union and the employer have crapped on the workers.  They have both put their desire not to give in to the other over doing the right thing.

However at the end of the day, Silver Fern should have done the right thing and paid them for two extra beasts. If I was on the board of Silver Fern, I’d want to know who made that decision, and hold them accountable for it.

Unions attacking Whittall

December 6th, 2010 at 6:08 am by David Farrar

Fresh from the PR triumph of attacking Sir Peter Jackson, the CTU continues its strategy of winning over the public by targeting Peter Whittall.

The Press reports:

Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly told a Canterbury Workers Educational Association function in Christchurch on Friday that Whittall should have apologised for the tragedy.

“He’s now been called a national hero, but he’s the CEO of that company and he hasn’t apologised,” she said.

“Even if the company did everything right, if it was me, I’d say: `I’m the employer. This has happened and I’m really sorry. I don’t know why, but I’m going to find out why’. But he hasn’t said that.”

Questions about what happened had not been asked, Kelly said.

“This is a very serious event. That mine was open for just over a year. There are 29 miners dead. We’ve got to be more mature about who we honour, how we think about things, what we demand. If that had been public Department of Conservation [land] we would have gone after them and said what had happened.

“But because it’s a company and because the CEO gets to sit next to the Prime Minister at the memorial service, the hard questions have not been asked.”

The CTU just don’t get it. Peter Whittall would not have insisted he be on the stage and one of the speakers at the memorial service. The PM would not have decided who the speakers are. I’m bet you that it was at the request of the miners families, that Whittall was on the stage as one of the speakers.

I’ve remarked on radio how unusual it is that the CEO of the mine where 29 people died has become a national hero. This must be very frustrating for the unions. But the reality is it is the way Whittall conducted himself that has won people over.

But he would know, that admiration for his post-explosion performance, will not protect him if it transpires that Pike River Coal has some culpability for what happened. Admiration for fronting up does not remove accountability and responsibility.

But this is why we have a Royal Commission – to establish the facts. I think it is unwise for various unions to already be trying to denigrate Whittall.

They have not been alone there. Cindy Baxter of Greenpeace facebooked soon after the tragedy a list of Pike River Directors, labelling them “the people who developed the mine that just killed 29 people”. An extra-ordinary rush to judgement.

We also had a Labour MP on day one of the explosion tweet about how the company must be asked the hard questions to prevent a cover-up and how the unions are key to this. This was before we even knew if anyone was dead.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) national secretary Andrew Little acknowledged Whittall had not sought hero status, but said failures on the part of mine managers or “the guys underground” could have caused the disaster.

“We need to reserve judgment until we get credible answers to questions about why it all happened.

“The company has been treated as somewhat heroic and in a way I think it’s somewhat undeserving.”

Little is correct in saying we need to reserve judgement. My admiration for Whittall’s response to the explosion in no way means that Pike River Coal should not be held accountable if the facts warrant it.

I think Andrew is wrong though in saying the company has been treated as somewhat heroic. Whittall has been, but he is not the company. People have empathised with the fact he knew every single miner killed – in fact had employed them all, and so obviously grieved for them.

In yesterday’s HoS, Matt McCarten had the same theme:

under his watch, 29 men were killed and still lie entombed. Family members and friends of the dead have been robbed of a loved one. Many other workers, as a result of the explosion, will lose their livelihoods.

Unbelievably, the chief executive of this company becomes a media darling.

He did not become a “media darling” for what happened. He gained respect because he did what so many people say they want CEOs to do – he fronted up constantly, he did not spin, he did not lie, he told the truth. He was real.

If you have followed the media coverage you’d think the whole tragedy was just an unavoidable accident.

On the contrary, I think no such thing.

EPMU v Pike River Coal

December 3rd, 2010 at 3:47 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

The miners’ union says Pike River Coal is insisting that its lawyers sit in on official police and Department of Labour investigation interviews into the mine tragedy which claimed 29 lives.

The union said that was potentially “contaminating” the process.

However, Pike River said today it was only making employees – many of whom had no prior contact with the police – aware of their legal rights.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, which represents miners, said today the company’s stance was causing major conflict.

“Management is insisting on the right of company lawyers to sit in on interviews. Their lawyers are sitting in on interviews with the Department of Labour and police,” general secretary Andrew Little said.

However, Pike River Coal chairman John Dow said it was up to individual employees whether lawyers sat in on the interviews.

The company was only trying to ensure its staff got the appropriate advice on their rights, and how the process worked.

“We are trying to find out what happened, our only interest is getting to the bottom of it – what caused the explosion and making sure it won’t happen again.

“We’ve said to our employees that if they are not happy having lawyers in the room, that’s fine.”

So the EPMU is arguing that the employees should have no choice in whether or not a lawyer is present for their interviews.

A Department of Labour (DOL) spokesman said it was the employee’s choice to decide whether company lawyers or other representatives attended on DOL interviews.

“We are informing employees that they have this choice.”

As it should be.

Key speech at Pike River memorial service

December 2nd, 2010 at 4:15 pm by David Farrar

Thanks to the media for tweeting the speech – was nice to be able to follow it despite no TV access.

The full speech is here. I found it very moving, as I did the other speeches also. A couple of extracts that stick with me:

But, as the hours passed, we had to start thinking the unthinkable. These 29 strong, fit, men, who were all sons, and who were also fathers, husbands, and brothers, were not going to walk out of that mine.

And so we prayed that when death came to them, as it will come to all of us, they did not suffer.


And I’d like to say something personal to the families of the lost miners, and in particular to those mothers of children who have so cruelly lost their fathers.

Amongst all your other emotions and pain there may be fear for your children growing up without the father who loved them.

Because I was such a child, I know that the absence of a parent is a heaviness you learn to carry in your own way.

It is a terrible thing to happen. But it doesn’t mean your children will not go on to live happy, worthwhile and fulfilling lives and, in time, experience joyfulness and love in new families, yet to be created.


In the streets of Greymouth, and all along the Coast, the intensity of this loss has weighed heavily on every heart.

But the human spirit is resilient, and people are by nature, hopeful.

I hope the knowledge of the nation’s support helps you through.

Your men were our men. And even if many of us know them only as names, and faces and stories, their deaths touched our lives, and we will remember them.

May they rest in peace.

And may us never forget them.

Justice Panckhurst to chair Royal Commission

November 29th, 2010 at 1:56 pm by David Farrar

The Government has selected Justice Panckhurst to chair the Royal Commission.

He is the second longest serving High Court Judge, having been a Judge since 1996. He also spent seven years as the Crown Solicitor covering Canterbury and the West Coast, which is useful.

Justice Panckhurst was a sole barrister and QC prior to his appointment to the High Court. He also seemed to have become a partner in a law firm, four years after graduating.

Interest will now focus on who the other two members will be.

Pike River Day X

November 28th, 2010 at 5:28 pm by David Farrar

Two significant things today.

We had explosion no 4. So on average an explosion every second day or so.

John Key has announced on Q+A that the Commission of Inquiry will be a Royal Commission. There is no real difference in powers (the legislation does not distinguish) and the “official” guidelines are that Royal Commissions in recent times have been for social policy inquiries. But the nice thing about being Prime Minister is you can decide to ignore things such as guidelines.

I suspect he was motivated by the fact Erebus was a Royal Commission, and not wanting this to be seen as inferior.

All eyes will be on the name of the Judge selected to chair it.

A third explosion

November 26th, 2010 at 4:58 pm by David Farrar

There has just been a third explosion in the mine.

A few people might be reflecting on how perhaps that “country cop” chap may have been onto quite a good thing when he said charging into the mine wasn’t the greatest of ideas!

Pike River Day VII

November 25th, 2010 at 7:48 am by David Farrar

Only one topic today. My thoughts, and I suspect most of our thoughts, will be on the families and friends of the victims.

I thought I would start discussion with some bouquets. I am very tempted to also do some brickbats, but I’ll save those for another day.

Peter Whittall has been amazing. In disasters like this the CEO of the mine would often be the villain, but Whittall’s humanity and compassion has been a beacon, combined with his straight talking and factual manner. I doubt there is a harder tribute to gain than the fact that when he walked out of the press conference where he announced the bad news, the media gave him a spontaneous round of applause.

I also have huge regard for Superintendent Gary Knowles. He had the unenviable job of being the focus of discontent over the frustration that a rescue operation was not launched. The reality is that these decisions are taken by consensus amongst the many experts who were involved. He did his duty well.

I watched the PM’s speech at 1830 yesterday (as did viewers of CNN, BBC etc) and was very moved by it. The PM captured our collective sense of loss. Also made the right decisions over adjourning Parliament after speeches about the tragedy, putiting flags at half mast and signally a full Commission of Inquiry. Gerry Brownlee has also been there on the grround throughout, saying the right things.

Big kudos also to those MPs who have been offering support, and not politicising a tragedy – especially Phil Goff and Damien O’Connor. The joint interview of Chris Auchinvole and Damien O’Connor was a nice symbol of how some things transcend politics. And being Leader of the Opposition can be a very tough role during a national tragedy, and Goff has shown his essential decency in his actions and comments. A couple of his MPs have not done so well, but as I said I will save the brickbats for another day.

Some may disagree with this, but I also give kudos to the NZ media. Maybe it took an Australian journalist to remind us, how good our media is by comparison, but I did like the outrage shown by NZ media as the Australian journalists made ridicolous comparisons to 9/11 etc. And while it was hard on the locals, having the media in Greymouth did allow the rest of NZ to be connected to what is happening, and follow the press conferences. Twitter, as usual, was the best source of up to the minute news. It also allowed journalists to share their raw emotions as events unfolded.

There are of course so many others who have done so much – the Red Cross, Air New Zealand, the local volunteers, the international experts. The only redeeming aspect of tragedies is how they do bring us all together.

UPDATE: You can donate to the Mayoral Relief Fund for the families of the victims at Give A Little. There can be fewer better local causes than this. Be generous.


November 24th, 2010 at 5:00 pm by David Farrar

News has just broken of a second explosion at the mine.

It is now inevitable that there were no survivors of the Pike River explosion. It had already become quite clear none of the 29 survived the initial blast – this will eventually be confirmed by pathologists.

For now we mourn New Zealand’s worst disaster since Erebus 31 years ago.

Rest in peace:

  1. Conrad John Adams, 43, Greymouth
  2. Malcolm Campbell, 25, Greymouth (Scottish)
  3. Glen Peter Cruse, 35, Cobden
  4. Allan John Dixon, 59, Runanga
  5. Zen Wodin Drew, 21, Greymouth
  6. Christopher Peter Duggan, 31, Greymouth
  7. Joseph Ray Dunbar, 17, Greymouth
  8. John Leonard Hale, 45, Ruatapu
  9. Daniel Thomas Herk, 36, Runanga
  10. David Mark Hoggart, 33, Greymouth
  11. Richard Bennett Holling, 41, Blackball
  12. Andrew David Hurren, 32, Hokitika
  13. Jacobus (Koos) Albertus Jonker, 47, Cobden (South Africa)
  14. William John Joynson, 49, Dunollie Australia
  15. Riki Steve Keane, 28, Greymouth.
  16. Terry David Kitchin, 41, Runanga
  17. Samuel Peter Mackie, 26, Greymouth
  18. Francis Skiddy Marden, 41, Runanga
  19. Michael Nolan Hanmer Monk, 23, Greymouth
  20. Stuart Gilbert Mudge, 31, Runanga.
  21. Kane Barry Nieper, 33, Greymouth
  22. Peter O’Neill, 55, Runanga
  23. Milton John Osborne, 54, Ngahere
  24. Brendan John Palmer, 27, Cobden
  25. Benjamin David Rockhouse, 21, Greymouth
  26. Peter James Rodger, 40, Greymouth (British)
  27. Blair David Sims, 28, Greymouth
  28. Joshua Adam Ufer, 25, Australia
  29. Keith Thomas Valli, 62, Winton.

The graphic is from the NZ Herald site. if you go there, you can click on each photo to read details of each of the deceased.

All my thoughts are with families and friends of the dead, and the entire West Coast community. Those of us from outside can only try and imagine what this must be like.

Incidentally the second explosion should be a lesson to the self appointed experts demanding people rush in. If they had been in charge, there could be many more dead.

A thought

November 24th, 2010 at 10:34 am by David Farrar

I can’t help wondering what if the two robots start fighting each other? Which one would win?

In better news, it has been reported the drill has broken through, and the robots are showing some areas.

The bore hole drill doesn’t show anyone in the refuge, which is sadly as expected. There are no bodies there either, which suggests that if the miners are dead they died quickly.

The robot has come across a lit miner’s helmet but no miners. It is not yet at the point of the first loader, so still a fair way to go.

Closure may be possible today, hopefully.

Video of impact of blast at mine entrance

November 23rd, 2010 at 6:24 pm by David Farrar

TV3 have a copy of a CCTV video of the impact at the mine entrance from the blast.

As I understand it the entrance is around 2 kms from where the blast originated. And that the 29 miners were all within say 200 metres of the blast.

While there is always some hope until the mine is accessed, I have to say that sadly I think the 29 probably perished in the blast.

What type of inquiry?

November 23rd, 2010 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key is indicating that a commission of inquiry will look into the cause of the explosion in the Pike River mine. …

A commission of inquiry was likely to be set up as opposed to a royal commission, Mr Key said.

What many do not realise is that in fact the powers of such inquiries are the same. The PM’s exact words from the press conference were:

Will you hold a Royal Commission into this?

He said didn’t want to speculate what the make-up of a (Inquiry) commission might be; Royal Commissions were generally for social areas. Cave Creek had been a Commission of Inquiry which was essentially the same structure.

The DIA bible of inquiries explains the different types of inquiries. The range available are:

  1. Statutory inquiries
  2. Ministerial inquiries
  3. Select Committee inquiries
  4. Ombudsmen inquiries
  5. Statutory Commissions
  6. Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry

Option (6) is the most powerful, with its own 1908 legislation. The legislation says:

2(e) The Governor-General may, by Order in Council, appoint any person or persons to be a Commission to inquire into and report upon any question arising out of or concerning … Any disaster or accident (whether due to natural causes or otherwise) in which members of the public were killed or injured or were or might have been exposed to risk of death or injury

The DIA guide goes on to elaborate the differences between a Royal Commission and a Commission of Inquiry.

A Royal Commission is policy/advisory and is for “Review or reform of social, legal and administrative systems

A Commission of Inquiry is investigative and is for “Matters of conduct or misconduct and major accidents and disasters

DIA also note:

Royal Commissions are perceived to have higher status than Commissions of Inquiry. However, there is no statutory imperative behind the two categories of inquiry.

Apart from the title, the only real difference is the method of appointment of the Commissioners.

Royal Commissions are appointed by the Governor-General in the name of the Sovereign, under the Letters Patent. Standard Commissions of Inquiry are appointed by the Governor-General pursuant to an Order in Council. The Governor-General appoints both types of Commission on the basis of recommendations by Government.

So it is very clear that the inevitable inquiry will be a Commission of Inquiry.

Joseph Dunbar

November 23rd, 2010 at 8:18 am by David Farrar

All the 29 dead or trapped miners have been named, and all of them will have family and friends in grief over what has happened.

The story of Joseph Dunbar is arguably the saddest of all the miners. The day of the explosion was his first day in the mine, being the day after his 17th birthday. In fact he was not meant to start until Monday but was so excited, he was allowed to start on Friday. What a cruel irony.

Pike River Day IV

November 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Prime Minister John Key says he is praying that the 29 men trapped at Pike River are safe.

“I just pray to God that they are alive,” he said.

“Obviously we need to begin a rescue as soon as we practically can, and we just pray that they have managed to secure an oxygen source.”

I think many NZers have also been praying for a good outcome. The news is not promising sadly, based on a blast survivor:

“Because I wasn’t as far up … the explosion wasn’t as bad for me. It just bowled me over and knocked me unconscious and someone dragged me about 300 metres, brought me around and then two of us held each other to get out of the mine.”

Mr Smith described the explosion as quick and without heat or smell.

“I just remember seeing a flash of something in front of me and then the concussion hit me. It wasn’t just a bang. It just kept coming, kept coming, kept coming.

“So I crouched down as low as I could in the seat to try to get behind this metal door [on the loader he was driving] to stop being pelted with all this debris …

I just couldn’t breathe and that’s the last I could remember and then someone found me about 15 minutes or so later.”

Mr Smith said the next thing he remembers is looking out of the ambulance as it was driving into Greymouth.

The concussion must have been very severe for those further in.

It must be awful for the families who are hoping for the best, but also getting prepared for the worst. Hopefully today there may be a resolution.

The Pike River tragedy

November 21st, 2010 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

I think most people felt their hearts get a little heavier, as the news filtered out that the testing in the mine indicates that there is probably a fire down there.

I’m not sure anyone will be entering that mine today. If they did, it seems it would probably just be increasing the death toll.