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UPDATE: CONSOL Mine to Reopen Wednesday Following Fire

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 3/26/13
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- A mine straddling the Pennsylvania-West Virginia line that was closed March 12 by a fire is set to reopen.

CONSOL Energy Inc. says state and federal officials have given the company the green light to re-enter the Blacksville No. 2 mine on Wednesday, provided that atmospheric testing allows.

The mine was evacuated two weeks ago when smoke began pouring from the Orndoff shaft in Wayne Township, Pa.

About 120 workers have been idled while CONSOL pumped in water and nitrogen to extinguish the fire. The company said testing indicates the fire has been snuffed.

The mine produces approximately 400,000 tons of coal per month.



UPDATE 3/19/13
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- CONSOL Energy says it still doesn't know when it will be safe to send workers back inside the Blacksville No. 2 mine.

The mine straddles the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border. CONSOL removed 120 workers last week after a fire broke out and smoke began pouring from the Orndoff shaft in Wayne Township, Pa.

Spokeswoman Lynn Seay said Monday that 15 boreholes have been drilled to tackle the fire.

Two are being used to pump in water. Others are being used monitor both the fire and the atmosphere, to remotely install plugs, and to inject nitrogen and deplete the oxygen that helps feed the fire.

Gas levels spiked in the mine spiked over the weekend.

CONSOL says the Kuhntown portal building was evacuated for 12 hours until safe levels were restored.



UPDATE 3/15/13
PINE BANK, Pa. (AP) -- A Consol Energy spokeswoman says a camera lowered into an underground mine along the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border detected light smoke but no images of fire as crews continued drilling bore holes that will be used to douse the blaze.

Smoke began pouring from a shaft opening at the Blacksville No. 2 mine in Wayne Township, Greene County, Pa., on Tuesday.

More than 120 day-shift workers got out safely, and Consol says no workers will return until the mine is safe.

Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay says a pump and water line were to be installed Friday. More than 800,000 gallons of water have been dumped into the mine so far.

Officials with the federal Mine Safety Health Administration, the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training, and the United Mine Workers union are also assisting.



UPDATE 3/14/13
PINE BANK, Pa. (AP) -- Consol Energy crews continue to fight a fire in an underground coal mine that straddles the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border.

Smoke began pouring from a shaft at the Blacksville No. 2 mine in Wayne Township, Greene County, Pa., on Tuesday afternoon.

More than 120 day-shift workers got out safely, and Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay says none will return to work until the mine is considered safe.

Federal Mine Safety Health Administration officials say more than 250,000 gallons of water had been pumped into the mine through a bore hole drilled on Wednesday, and four more holes were being drilled at a rate of 87 feet per hour. The holes are 1,000 to 1,200 feet deep to reach the mine.

The mine employs more than 500 workers and produces coal for power plants.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/13/13
WAYNE, Pa. (AP) -- A CONSOL Energy mine near the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line has been evacuated after smoke was seen coming from one of the mine's airshafts.

The company says more than 120 day-shift workers at the Blacksville No. 2 mine were safely evacuated on Tuesday afternoon. No one sustained injuries.

CONSOL says it is working with state and federal officials to determine the location of the incident and the origin of the smoke.

The company says it doesn't know when mine operations will resume.

According to federal data, the underground mine employs more than 500 workers and produced more than 3.2 million tons of coal last year.


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