Federal regulators say Consol can reopen fire-stricken mine
Consol Energy Inc. will reopen its Blacksville No. 2 Mine on the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border on Monday, but federal investigators doubt they'll learn what caused a fire there, officials said Thursday.
Cecil-based Consol began safety and compliance training at the mine in order to reopen, the company said in a statement. The mine produces 400,000 tons of coal a month under normal operations. It was closed when workers discovered the fire on March 12.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration gave permission to reopen Blacksville when test results showed seals around the fire-damaged area had stabilized, said Kevin Stricklin, administrator for coal mine safety and health.
The company had to act quickly to seal off and then extinguish the fire, but that seal will prevent investigators from exploring that site for evidence of what caused the blaze, he said.
“We may never know the reason for the fire and how it started. It is important to know, but it's not important enough to send people into an area that's sealed,” Stricklin said, adding that the agency finds a cause for nearly all mine fires it investigates. “Consol gets a lot of credit. It's their mine and they made a lot of right decisions.”
When the mine reopens, federal workers will resume regular inspections and conclude their fire investigation by talking to more employees to determine what can be learned from the incident, Stricklin said.
Consol will keep nitrogen on hand and watch to ensure explosive gas doesn't build up behind the seal, he said.
Extinguishing the fire cost Consol $15.2 million, company officials said when they announced a $1.6 million loss for the first quarter of the year.
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Oakland firm Qualaris Healthcare’s software saves time in hospitals
- Mylan completes inversion with Abbott to move headquarters to Netherlands, lower taxes
- Mud serves as multipurpose tool in $100B shale industry
- Lumber Liquidators shares plunge 25%
- Consumer spending dinged by declining gas prices
- Construction picks up, but workers hard to find
- Nasdaq climbs over 5,000 points ... 15 years later
- Pittsburgh gas pump prices up nearly 9 cents
- Bill Gates repeats at top of Forbes’ list of billionaires
- Rue21 adjusts for tough market
- PNC Bank to cut financing of mountaintop removal coal companies