ROCANVILLE, Saskatchewan, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Twenty miners waited out a fire in a safe room in a potash mine in Canada before coming to the surface Tuesday, officials said.
A PotashCorp spokesman said the fire that broke out shortly before 2 a.m. at its Rocanville, Saskatchewan, mine had been extinguished and the miners were unharmed, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
PotashCorp Public Affairs Manager Bill Cooper said the trapped miners were able to communicate with people on the surface and were not in danger while they waited for the air quality to improve, the CBC said.
Terry Daniel, the mine's manager of mill operations, said the workers had to wait until the air in the shaft was tested and found to be safe.
All the miners were safe on the surface by 8:30 p.m.
"Putting a fire out in a mine is much different than putting one out above ground," Cooper said.
"You have to consider the safety of your employees underground and your mine teams and you move as quickly as you can in a safe manner."
The CBC said there were 29 people underground when the fire erupted, with nine of them getting out. Cooper said a large wooden spool somehow caught fire, but it wasn't known what ignited it.
Nicole Lane told the CBC her fiance, Ben Mitchell, 26, of Birtle, Manitoba, was among the trapped miners and had called her about 7:45 a.m. from the safe room.
"He called and just said that he was safe in there, that he was in there by himself because nobody was ... working with him at the time," she said.
"The mine would be calling him every hour to make sure that he was OK."
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