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Blacksville mine approved for entry following fire

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Crews from CONSOL Energy can now re-enter the Blacksville No. 2 Mine following an evacuation due to smoke detected coming from a mine shaft.

The evacuation occurred on March 12. Since then, the company has been pumping water into the mine to suffocate the fire. The process was completed Sunday and federal, state and union officials approved reentry into the mine.

No one was injured due to the fire or during efforts to extinguish the flames. The company evacuated more than 120 employees through a nearby portal.

"I am extremely proud of the successful collaborative effort from federal and state agencies, the UMWA, contractors/vendors and our employees on site who worked around-the-clock to remotely extinguish a fire in less than twelve days," said CONSOL Energy Senior Vice President Chuck Shaynak. "Without their efforts, we would not be where we are today. Most importantly, we accomplished all of the work without an injury."

The company said the fire did not occur in a working area of the mine.

The first re-entry is schedule for 7 a.m. on Wednesday. According to CONSOL, the mine produces approximately 400,000 tons of coal per month during typical operating conditions.