The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration continues to work on a fire underground at the Blacksville No. 2 Mine in Monongalia County.

The large CONSOL operation had to be evacuated earlier this week when smoke started coming out of an airshaft.  During the last few days, MSHA and company officials have been working to find the location of the blaze.

On Friday, MSHA said five boreholes had been drilled into the mine.  Cameras have been lowered into the bore holes and smoke detected at varying levels.  MSHA believes one bore hole is near the fire; temperatures registered at more than 100 degrees in the area.

In a statement, MSHA also said that 1,210,440 gallons of water have been pumped into the mine with an average of 125,000 gallons of water per shift.

CONSOL, the UMWA, state regulators, and MSHA are all maintaining a presence at the mine and working together at the mine.

Work at the mine was halted on Tuesday.

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  • Shadow

    While I am not a Mining Engineer, I don't understand why they are not pumping Nitrogen into the mine and reduce the amount of Oxygen available for the fire. The mine is an enclosed volume which seemingly would keep the Nitrogen inside. I would think it would be cheaper than water.

    • The Light

      Most of the flammable material will be in the lower half of the mine entry (wood, conveyor belt, dust) so the fire is most effectively fought from the ground up when they can't direct the water themselves (firehoses). If they use Nitrogen they would would have to fill the entire mine volume with Nitrogen because it is lighter than air and that much gas is not cheap. Water on the other hand they can get out of any stream or impoundment. The other option they've used in the past is jet engines to inert the air entering the mine (

    • coal mine observer

      The mine has not been sealed off yet, so the nitrogen would not do any good.