The fire was first detected by a pumpman who encountered smoke while being hoisted in the Lark Shaft from the 2500 level to the 1200 level. He returned by cage to the 2500 level to notify the hoistman by telephone and died some time later after closing the water doors when a power outage occurred. The other four men died while attempting to rescue him.
Five men perished from fire gases originating in a battery-charging station on the 1400 level, 5728 Incline Shaft. The fire was first detected by a pumpman who encountered smoke while being hoisted in the Lark Shaft from the 2500 level to the 1200 level.
He returned by cage to the 2500 level to notify the hoistman by telephone and died some time later after closing the water doors when a power outage occurred. The other four men died while attempting to rescue him. News of the fire was promptly phoned to the watchman on surface by the hoistman.
The U. S. and Lark Mine is comprised of two widely separated mining operations having a single underground shaft connection. The U. S. Section is operated through a haulage tunnel and has several other openings on the Bingham Canyon side of the mountain.
The Lark Section is operated through the Mascotte Tunnel entering the foot of the east slope of the Oquirrh Range at Lark, Utah, about 3 miles east of Bingham. At the time of the disaster a new connecting tunnel, the Bingham Tunnel, was being driven from the surface at Lark toward the connecting shaft in the U. S. Section. The Bingham Tunnel was started 440 feet northeast and 15 feet above the Mascotte Tunnel portal and crossed over the top of the Mascotte Tunnel at an acute angle.
At the time of the fire the face of the Bingham Tunnel had been advanced several hundred feet beyond a branch to the main Lark Shaft serving the Lark Section and there were two connections with the Lark Section workings; a 700 foot branch had been driven to intersect the Mascotte Tunnel about 250 feet outby the Lark Shaft and an intersection had been made with 2808 crosscut of the Lark Section for ventilation control purposes. The branch connection had a wooden ventilation stopping in it and the 2808 crosscut had a ventilation door installation.
Investigation revealed the fire started in the batterycharging station on the 1400 level of 5728 Incline.
The fire burned about 10 feet outby the station then extended up the inclined shaft to the upper levels and to the Mascotte Tunnel level through No. 4 Incline Shaft before it was brought under control. The batterycharging station was situated in the open, along the
side of 5728 Incline Shaft and was timbered heavily with wooden cross bars and 2-inch lagging. The power wires into the station were fashioned by nailing them to the timbers. The motor-generator charging equipment was installed on a wooden floor.
During the work stoppage electric lights and heaters had been installed under and around stationary electrical equipment throughout the mine, including the battery-charging station, to keep the motors and other electrical equipment dry and ready for resumption of work. The source of ignition was believed to be from the electrical heating equipment or from power wires contacting combustible materials.
Reports on the fire fighting activities pointed out that fog nozzle sprays were found to be an important means of pushing smoke ahead so that fire fighters could advance safely.
Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I