Mr. T. Williams (by Private Notice)
asked the Paymaster-General whether he has any statement to make on the gas explosion at the Barnburgh Main Colliery on Wednesday, 26th June.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Power (Mr. David Renton)
An ignition of fire damp occurred at about 3 p.m. yesterday, 26th June, at Barnburgh Main Colliery, Yorkshire, when a shot was being fired in a back ripping about 70 yards from the face of a middle gate leading to a long wall conveyor face.
I regret to have to inform the House that 20 men working at the face were burned, some severely. I am sure that the House will wish to join with me in hoping that the injured men will make a speedy recovery.
Her Majesty's inspectors are investigating the circumstances.
Whilst associating myself with every right hon. and hon. Member in expressions of sympathy, may I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether, despite the fact that mercifully there have been no fatalities so far, the ordinary kind of inquiry will be undertaken to ascertain the real cause of the explosion?
§ Mr. Renton
I am not quite sure what the right hon. Gentleman means by "ordinary kind of inquiry". The first step is that Her Majesty's inspector should investigate the full circumstances. That necessarily may take some time, owing to the fact that some of the necessary witnesses have been injured. When that has been done it will be for my noble Friend to decide what formal steps, if any, should be taken by way of special report or public inquiry.