The Courrieres mine disaster in France, with a total death toll of 1,099, is the second deadliest coal mining disaster in history. The coal mining catastrophe occurred on 10 March 1906 due to a massive explosion sparked by an underground fire in one of the pits of the Courrieres Colliery.
The fire was detected around 270m underground in the Cecil pit in afternoon the day before the explosion. The outlets of the pit were closed to starve the fire of oxygen.
The next morning a huge explosion emanated from the still-smouldering fire at the pit and caused a blast on the surface. Workers inside the mine's deep tunnels, as well as people on the surface, were killed in the disaster.
The fissures in the pit's walls were believed to have allowed the flammable gases to cause a coal dust explosion underground. The cause of the initial fire was suspected to be either because of the mishandling of mining explosives or due to the ignition of methane by the flame from a miner's lamp.