Blacksville Mine remains closed as crews work to extinguish fire
Consol Energy’s Blacksville No. 2 Mine remained closed today as the company works to extinguish a fire underground that forced the evacuation of the mine on the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia Tuesday afternoon.
Company, state and federal mine officials at the mine believe they have determined where the fire is located, Leslie Fitzwater, spokeswoman for the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, said Wednesday morning.
“They’re cutting back the air supply to the fire and are pumping water down an existing borehole to put it out,” she said.
The fire was discovered at about 2 p.m. Tuesday when smoke was detected coming from the mine’s Orndoff air shaft in Wayne Township, Greene County. All 121 day shift workers underground at the time were evacuated without injury through the mine’s Kuhntown portal, about a mile away from the Orndoff shaft.
Mine Safety and Health Administration personnel were at the mine Tuesday doing inspection work and issued an order to withdraw miners because of unsafe conditions, said Amy Louviere, MSHA spokeswoman.
A mine rescue team entered the mine late Tuesday afternoon but was forced to withdraw because of thick smoke and heat, she said. The rescue team exited the mine safely and all members were accounted for by about 5:15 p.m.
Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay confirmed late Tuesday elevated carbon monoxide levels in the mine shaft, suggesting a smoldering or burning fire in the mine. The company is coordinating with federal and state authorities to develop a plan to address these conditions and will begin to implement this plan overnight.
This mine employs approximately 650 miners, is represented by the United Mine Workers of America, and produced approximately 3.2 million tons of coal in 2012.
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