Willow Creek Mine Fire - A Chronology of Events
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May 14 through October 2, 1999
Coal production continued at the Willow Creek Mine from May 14, 1999 through September 25, 1999. During this period, the D-2 Northwest Headgate Entries and D-2 Northwest Tailgate Entries were connected to the D Seam Bleeder Entries to establish the next longwall panel.
With mining completed for the next panel, the recovery process resumed to recover the face equipment from the D-1 Longwall Panel. An infrared monitoring station and chromatographic laboratory was established to monitor the mine gases at various locations. Carbon dioxide injection was started through the No. 2 Borehole into the No. 1 Entry near the No. 36 Crosscut in the longwall tailgate.
On September 27, mine rescue teams consisting of Willow Creek and MSHA personnel entered the mine to re-establish ventilation in the D-1 Northwest Tailgate entries to the longwall face. Ventilation of the D-1 Northwest Tailgate entries was completed on September 28 and reventilation of the longwall face commenced. During the next few days, ventilation adjustments were made to reduce the methane concentrations in the longwall return entries.