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Conclusions; Analysis of Mine Fires for All US Underground and Surface Coal Mining Categories 1990-1999
  • Published Date:
    1/1/2004
Filetype[PDF - 206.26 KB]


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  • Description:
    During 1990-1999, a total of 458 fires occurred in all coal mining categories; 157 of those fires caused 164 injuries and 2 fatalities. The greatest number of fires and fire injuries occurred at surface mines, which also had the highest risk rate values. A total of 66 firefighting interventions were required. Of these, there were 25 mine rescue team interventions in underground mines, including 5 mobile equipment firefighting interventions, and 41 fire brigade and fire department interventions at all surface operations, including 19 mobile equipment interventions. In all, 50 fires destroyed or heavily damaged equipment (including 16 pieces of mobile equipment) because of failure of other firefighting methods, late fire detection, undetected fires, or fire size. A total of 1 14 fires were detected late by smoke, and 42 fires were not detected. In the future, coal mine fires might be prevented or detected and extinguished at their earliest stage by adopting existing/improved technologies and/or by developing new technologies. Several strategies for reducing the number of fires and fire injuries follow. 1. Adopt existing/improved safety/procedures and develop new technologies for flame cutting/welding operations. Require safety training for welders (including contractors) working in gaseous environments. At all coal operations during 1990-1999, flame cutting/ welding operations caused 102 fires (22% of total fires with 69 injuries). These fires usually involved welders' clothing or oxy fuel/grease (grease embedded in the equipment's mechanical components). However, in two instances sparks hot slag/flames caused methane ignitions followed by large fires (one of these fires required firefighting interventions and mine/section/facility evacuation and sealing), in six cases undetected hot slag caused coal belt fires, in one instance undetected hot slag caused a storage facility fire, in another instance undetected hot slag caused a large coal fire that required firefighting intervention and mine evacuation and sealing followed by a methane explosion, and in another instance undetected hot slag caused a coal chute smoldering fire, which, upon water application;

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