Consol hopes to pinpoint location of fire in Greene County coal mine

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Consol Energy said today it has identified the general location of an underground fire in its Blacksville No. 2 deep coal mine near Wayne, Greene County, and is drilling boreholes from the surface into the mine and pumping water underground in an attempt to contain and extinguish the fire.

Lynn Seay, a Consol spokeswoman, said the company began drilling the first borehole Wednesday and hopes to break through to the mine today, sending down a camera that will help "pinpoint the source of the ignition."

The mine fire was first detected at 2 p.m. Tuesday when smoke was reported coming out of the mine's Omdoff shaft.

All 121 miners were immediately evacuated through the mine's Kuhntown portal.

The company said there were no injuries.

Working with federal and state mining agencies, Consol has implemented a strategy to pump water into the mine and closely monitor carbon monoxide and methane levels inside.

By Wednesday morning 250,000 gallons of water had been pumped into the mine through an existing borehole at the Omdoff shaft. Eventually, according to a company press release, Consol will drill three new vertical boreholes into mine near the Omdoff shaft to "increase the volume of water that we can pump into the mine."

All work shifts at the mine have been cancelled since the fire was detected Tuesday. Consol officials do not know when mining will resume.

Blacksville No. 2 produces approximately 400,000 tons per month under normal operations.

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Don Hopey: dhopey@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1983.


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