Consol pouring water into borehole to contain Blacksville mine fire
Consol Energy Inc. said on Wednesday it identified the location of an underground fire at its Blacksville No. 2 mine on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border and began pumping water into a borehole to try to contain it.
Working with federal and state officials, Consol said it started an aggressive plan to extinguish the fire with as much water as possible and to monitor carbon monoxide and methane levels in the mine.
Cecil-based Consol said Tuesday that smoke from an air shaft at the Blacksville mine prompted the safe evacuation of 121 day-shift workers. Initially, one mine rescue team plus a backup team were sent underground to locate a fire. When the teams felt heat and encountered heavy smoke, they withdrew from the mine, said Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere.
Smoke was detected at 2 p.m. coming out of the mine's Orndoff air shaft. Workers were evacuated through the mine's Kuhntown portal. Both the Kuhntown portal — about 15 miles south of Waynesburg — and the Orndoff shaft are located in Greene County.
On Wednesday, an existing borehole at the Orndoff shaft was opened and 250,000 gallons of water were pumped into the mine, Louviere said.
Consol spokeswoman Lynn Seay said the company is deploying three drilling rigs to drill additional boreholes near the Orndoff shaft to increase the amount of water, she said.
In addition, three sampling lines were lowered into the Orndoff shaft to monitor for carbon monoxide and methane.
On Tuesday, MSHA Coal Mine Safety and Health personnel were doing inspection work at the mine — considered a West Virginia mine even though the portal is located across the border in Greene County — and ordered an evacuation, Louviere said.
The Blacksville mine, which has about 650 total workers, produces steam coal for power plants, with production of 3.2 million tons in 2012.
Consol said it cancelled all shifts so that the recovery plan can continue. It is not known when operations will resume. No personnel will enter the mine until it is determined that it is safe to do so, the company said.
Blacksville is a town in Monongalia County, W.Va., with a population of 171 as of the 2010 census.
John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fed slashes its emergency power options in crisis
- Demand for surveillance systems boosts sales for Vector Security
- Yahoo investors losing patience with ‘star’ CEO Marissa Mayer
- IMF adds China’s yuan to basket of top currencies
- Distractions can help keep riders alert in self-driving cars, study finds
- Western Pa. conference aims to connect veterans with businesses with contracting experts, specialists
- Cyber Monday increasingly a ‘blah-iday’ as deals rolled out earlier, longer
- U.S. steel producers oppose WTO’s reclassification of China as market economy
- Stocks dip on lower holiday spending fears