It's a miner's worst nightmare to be trapped inside a mine with a smoky fire. Miners have long been practicing ways to get out of a mine fire, but on Saturday, they had the chance to practice with breathing equipment for the first time.
For Kanawha Eagle coal miners, the mine fire simulation may be their last chance to prepare for the real thing. It’s something the miners say they hope they'll never experience, but at least now they know they have the skills to make it through.
For the first time, the miners had to rely on oxygen devices to breathe during the simulation. They're known as self-contained, self-rescue units. The device they used on Saturday is similar to the one they would use in a real emergency.
Kanawha Eagle coal says all of its 300 miners will have to go through the simulation with the device. It's something the company says is very important in light of the Sago and Aracoma tragedies.
It’s all in an effort to make mining less of a gamble and more of a livelihood.
Only 100 Kanawha Eagle miners went through the training session, but by the end of the month, all of its 300 employees will have had the experience of using the oxygen device.