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Responding to an underground mine fire: a case study.

Vaught C; Wooton DG
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Institute on Mining Health, Safety and Research, Blacksburg, Virginia, August 24-26, 1992. Tinney G, Bacho A, Karmis M, eds., Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1992 Aug; :197-208
This manuscript presents an overview of emergency response and fire- fighting activities at an underground coal mine in the midwestern United States. Although efforts to contain the fire proved successful, there are lessons learned that may impact future responses. Regarding fires, prior assessment of such elements as water capacity and access to equipment (with correction of inadequate features) are critical. It is also recommended that particular attention be given to potential alternative strategies, e.g., sealing plans, rather than addressing them ad hoc. The authors conclude that it is important for operations to develop and test, under simulated conditions, a comprehensive mine emergency plan. Fire may be defined as the destructive burning of physical structures or other sites for human activity, with consequent potential for serious harm or loss of life (Vaught and Wiehagen, 1992). When fire occurs in an underground coal mine, the potential loss of jobs and coal (which is a non-renewable energy resource) is extremely likely. Therefore, though any threat to life should be minimized, it is important that an organization make a concerted effort to save the mine. The present paper gives an account of the first 37 hours of such a required response at an operation in the midwestern United States. It is anticipated that experiences related in this case study will offer insights that could prove helpful to those who might be forced to make a similar response sometime in the future.
Emergency-response; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-fighting-equipment; Fire-safety; Fire-protection; Underground-mining; Underground-miners; Miners; Mining-industry; Mining-equipment; Mine-workers; Mine-fires; Mine-disasters; Coal-miners; Coal-mining
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Tinney G; Bacho A; Karmis M
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Institute on Mining Health, Safety and Research, Blacksburg, Virginia, August 24-26, 1992
Page last reviewed: October 1, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division