Colliery Blaze – Serious Fire At Cadeby – Winding Gear Disabled

April 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 15, 1927

Colliery Blaze
Serious Fire At Cadeby
Winding Gear Disabled
Snapped Rope Down Shaft

Shortly after Tuesday midnight, a fire broke out in the number one engine house at Cadeby colliery, caused, it is thought, by an acetylene burner igniting some oily waste.

This spread to the oil around, and the flames quickly reached the roof. For a few moments there was an intense blaze, which, however, settled down to the vigourous steady burning..

Fitters were working in the building at the time, dismantling machinery in order that new cylinders might be fitted, and the alarm was quickly given by blowing the colliery siren.

The Colliery Fire Brigade got to work immediately, and at 12.45 the Conisborough brigade under the direction of Superintendent Clarkson, were on the scene with a manual engine, chemicals and hose. At that time, too, the night alarm of the Mexborough brigade rang and under second officer R Grainger they were on the job by 1 o’clock.

Superintendent Clarkson directed operations, and by localising the fire the surrounding buildings were saved. The Doncaster Brigade also responded to the call, and within an hour the outbreak was well in hand. The Doncaster men were able to return at 2.30 and an hour later the Mexborough Brigade retired, leaving the Conisborough men on the spot, the fire then been almost extinguished.

At the time of the outbreak five or 600 men were underground. These were at once withdrawn by the number two shaft.

No reliable estimate can as yet be made of the damage. The figure of £10,000 already published is a wild guess. No official information on this or any other point is available. The fire occasioned a good deal of excitement and alarm both above and below ground, but there was never any real danger to the men below.

According to our information the accident originated from repairs in the engine house, where a party of men were engaged in acetylene welding, and by some means a quantity of oil in the sump was ignited. Flames instantly shut up to the roof and started a general conflagration. The men on the spot acted coolly and pluckily. The alarm was quickly given, all hands turned out to fight the flames, and the buzzes and sirens were set going. This continued for nearly half an hour and effectively aroused the neighbourhood.

The workmen were quickly joined by the Fire Brigade from Conisborough, Mexborough and Doncaster, and with a plentiful supply of water available the fire was quickly got under control, but not before it had inflicted serious damage to the winding machinery and, as ill luck would have it, to the ropes, one of which was snapped by the heat and went crashing to the bottom, luckily without inflicting any injury, though it encumbered the shaft, and it will probably take some days to get clear.

Following this mishap the precaution was taken to prop the surface cage and to hold it firmly in position with blocks of timber. The rope attached to the surface cage remained intact, but was no doubt seriously affected by the intense heat to which it was subjected.

Meanwhile rumours of a disaster below ground began to gain currency, and the men below, learning of the mishap on the surface, were also alarmed. All the men, however, were safely drawn up the number two shaft, which was well clear of the fire, and the crowds who had rushed to the pit yard were quickly reassured by the appearance of the night shift, whole and sound, and the real nature of the trouble was then understood.