Cause of Recent Sunshine Mine Fire Still a Mystery


A fire inside the Sunshine Mine near Kellogg in north Idaho, which burned for several weeks, remains a mystery.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports this morning that officials with Sunshine Silver Mines Corp. said they thought "the fire inside the mine is likely out and carbon monoxide levels have come way down."

The mine was evacuated on Feb. 14 following reports of elevated levels of carbon monoxide. The company had been working on refurbishing the mine since it purchased the property in 2010. Following the evacuation, the company reduced its workforce because of the high gas levels and fire. The company cut off all intakes feeding oxygen into the mine and injected nitrogen to extinguish the fire.

"We can't go down there and look without risking re-ignition," said Monica Brisnehan, a company spokeswoman.

The mine was the scene of one of Idaho's worst tragedies, when 91 men were killed in the so-called Sunshine Mine Fire of 1972.