Efforts continue to extinguish fire at Blacksville No. 2 Mine

March 15, 2013

Consol Energy continued its efforts to extinguish a fire at its Blacksville No. 2 Mine in southern Greene County, completing additional boreholes from the surface into the mine Friday and filling the mine with more than one million gallons of water.

A camera was lowered into the boreholes, and “smoke was detected at varying levels,” said Amy Louviere, spokeswoman for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. In one borehole, temperatures registered 100 to 105 degrees; it is believed to be closest to the fire, she said.

Company personnel have been able to determine airflow in different sections of the mine through the boreholes and have narrowed the possible location of the heat source, Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay said.

The fire was discovered Tuesday afternoon when smoke was detected coming from the mine’s Orndoff air shaft in Wayne Township. Miners were safely evacuated through the Kuhntown portal, about a mile north of the shaft.

Consol early began pumping water into the mine through an existing borehole attempting to douse the fire and started drilling additional boreholes through which it can monitor underground conditions and increase the volume of water it can pump into the mine.

As of Friday afternoon, 1,210,440 gallons of water had been pumped into the mine at an estimated 125,000 gallons of water per shift, Louviere said.

Consol said earlier the impacted section of the mine is not an active working section.

The company has made “significant progress” in implementing its plan to extinguish the fire, Seay said Friday.

Four boreholes had pierced the mine and drilling continued late Friday afternoon on a fifth, she said. Boreholes are being developed with casings designed to protect groundwater.

A water line was installed to pump water from a nearby pond. A second water line was being laid and is expected to be operational Friday night. Construction of infrastructure to accommodate trucks and pumps to deliver water from additional sources also continued.

Consol said its crews will remains on-site around the clock. Others participating in the effort include MSHA, West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training and the United Mine Workers union, which represents the mine’s workforce.

The mine employs about 650 miners. Mine employees can receive help filing their unemployment claims from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Greene County Fairgrounds, according to Pennsylvania CareerLink Greene County.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Unemployment Compensation Service Center will have staff at the fairgrounds to assist the employees filing for unemployment compensation. Staff from the Pennsylvania Rapid Response Coordination Services and the Pennsylvania CareerLink Greene County also will be on hand to assist.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

View More from this Author



blog comments powered by Disqus