Fire at Nanaimo area coal mine
Fire was one of the greatest problems associated with coal mining in the Nanaimo region. The coal has originally been formed in coastal lagoons. The coal seams were irregular, and the coal was often mixed with shale, sandstone, and other substances. Coal gas often formed deep in the mine shafts, and could easily be ignited by sparks or from candles in the miner's hats. This photograph shows smoke billowing from the entrance to one of the mines.