UPDATE: Consol working to quench fire at Blacksville No. 2 - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Consol working to quench fire at Blacksville No. 2

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UPDATE

Consol said around 2 p.m. March 13 that the general location of the fire was identified overnight and that the plan for controlling it has two strategies.

As much water as possible is being injected into the mine near where the fire is believed to be located. And air is being sampled continuously for carbon monoxide and methane.

Water already was being pumped into an existing borehole early Wednesday morning. Three drilling rigs were on site or being brought in to create additional boreholes for pumping water in. By 3:40 on Wednesday, MSHA said four additional boreholes had been created. The primary source of the water is Consol's freshwater pond on-site, and the company is working with regulatory sources to tap other sources as necessary.

Three sampling lines were lowered in to monitor the air in the mine.

Work at Blacksville No. 2 is canceled until further notice.

 

ORIGINAL STORY

Officials are investigating the cause of a fire in Consol Energy's Blacksville No. 2 mine at the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border.

The fire was discovered around 2 p.m. on March 12 when smoke was detected coming out of the mine's Orndoff return shaft, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

MSHA Coal Mine Safety and Health personnel were at the mine at the time and issued a 103(k) order to withdraw miners.

All 121 day-shift underground employees were safely evacuated through the Kuhntown, Pa. portal and none sustained injuries, according to Consol spokesperson Lynn Seay. MSHA spokesperson Amy Louviere said all personnel were accounted for by 5:15 p.m.

Elevated levels of carbon monoxide in the mine shaft further confirmed the presence of a smoldering or burning fire, Seay said. Mine rescue personnel that went in to locate the source were forced to withdraw because of thick smoke and heat.

Consol canceled shift work at the mine at least through the Wednesday day shifts. The company expected to formulate a plan with federal and state authorities for locating and extinguish the fire and to get it under way Tuesday night.

Blacksville No. 2 employs about 650 miners and is represented by the United Mine Workers of America.