European Heritage Label Network

by Justine Colombana

Le bois du casier ©Justine Colombana

8 august 1956 seemed like any other day, but it was in the morning that things got complicated. 275 men descendend as usual into the depths of the basements to work, and it was ten past eight in the morning that a catastrophe occurred that was to be one of the greatest mining tragedies. A fire broke out in « le bois du casier » as a result of a poorly executed caging operation. During the start-up of the cage, a car that was overtaking caught a beam, which damaged an oil pipe and damaged two high-voltage electrical cables, causing a compressed air pipe to break. Electric arcs are created which setting fire to the pulverized oil, the fire takes more and more extent and becomes a real catastrophe. It was only a few minutes later that seven workers announce the accident. Only six survivors stay alive and the others died and were found on August 23 as corpses.
EHL site: Bois du Cazier, Marcinelle