The subsequent fire ended up blocking the mine's main decline, contaminating the ventilation in the mine and burning through the communications line, cutting communications to those trapped below ground.
Those personnel still underground managed to make their way to safety refuge chambers.
When the operator noticed that glow at about 4.30pm on June 23 he realised there was a problem and started to turn the 60t Sandvik TH663 hauler off the main decline, only to realise he was entering the refuelling bay.
He steered the truck back into the main decline and stopped it 15m from the entrance to the refuelling bay but more than 50m from the actual refuelling area, and manually initiated the fire suppression system.
That seemed to put the blaze out ...