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ARACOMA COAL COMPANY, INC. ARACOMA ALMA MINE #1 JANUARY 19, 2006 FATAL MINE FIRE.

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Presentation on theme: "ARACOMA COAL COMPANY, INC. ARACOMA ALMA MINE #1 JANUARY 19, 2006 FATAL MINE FIRE."— Presentation transcript:

1 ARACOMA COAL COMPANY, INC. ARACOMA ALMA MINE #1 JANUARY 19, 2006 FATAL MINE FIRE

2 Mine Overview Rum Creek Portal Fire Location Box Cut Portal 3 Section (Continuous Miner) Active Longwall Section 2 Section - 11 Headgate (Continuous Miner)

3 North West Mains Travel Routes to Affected Sections Box Cut Portal Approximately 3 Miles total travel from Portal to 2 Section. 2 Section - 11 Headgate Development (Cont. Miner) North East Mains Active Longwall Section

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7 72 Belt Structure Installed Critical Ventilation Controls Removed Prior to Fire Stopping Removed to Install Dual Switch House (72 Belt Structure Later Installed Prior to Fire) Stopping Removed Prior to Fire

8 Mantrip Origin of fire Personnel Door

9 Mantrip Don Bragg Ellery Hatfield Origin of fire

10 January 31 – March 31, 2006 Underground Phase Accident Investigation Activities Examination of equipment in fire area Examination of fire detection equipment Mapping of critical subject materials Photography (still and video) of significant areas Examination of ventilation controls Examination of fire suppression equipment Examination of fire fighting equipment Identification and collection of evidence Examination of mine records

11 Accident Investigation Activities February 8 – April 13, 2006 Interview Phase 83 Interviews Conducted jointly by MSHA and WV State Eyewitness miners Mine Rescue Teams Maintenance personnel Mine Examiners Manufacturers and vendors Mine Management personnel State and Federal agency personnel Local emergency management personnel

12 Accident Investigation Activities May 2006 – March 2007 Analysis and Testing of Evidence Collected Self-Contained Self Rescuer unit examination and testing Examination and testing of AMS Alarm Unit Examination and testing of belt material Testing of coal samples for spontaneous combustion Detailed analysis of mine records conducted Review of Interview Transcripts

13 Accident Investigation Activities May 2006 – March 2007 Determination of Violations Identification of Contributory Violations Root-Cause Analysis of Accident Develop Accident Report, Maps and Figures

14 Final Report Identifies Ignition Source of the Fire Discusses deficiencies at the mine Discusses violations contributing to accident Constructs 7-hour accident timeline

15 Before 5:00 pm, Bryan Cabell, Belt Examiner, finds belt alignment problem; His attempts to realign unsuccessful, Cabell calls for assistance. Belt is shut down 5:05 p.m. to avoid damage to belt material.

16 Cabell reports smoke to longwall headgate; Cabell sees smoke increasing in intensity and calls again for help. First AMS Alert and Alarm signals occur 5:14 p.m. for Sensor First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m.

17 Cabell calling for Fred Horton. Brown first answers pager phone at 5:14 p.m. and Horton joins call. Alert and alarm signals for Sensor 81 occur at 5:16 p.m First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m.

18 Cabell is on phone with Horton when Callaway and Rose arrive at drive at 5:18 p.m. Flames are visible in fire area. Three men begin fighting fire, but only fire extinguishers could be used in the attempt. First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m.

19 Cabell has asked Brown to evacuate 2 Section. Brown begins to call, then sets off warning strobe light to gain attention. First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m.

20 Brown shuts off belts at 5:39 p.m. Order to evacuate issued by Horton minutes later at 5:42 p.m. after Plumley calls Brown to find out why belts are stopped. First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m.

21 Plumley assembles crew and boards mantrip. Crew members are not aware of severity of the fire. First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m.

22 Mantrip hits thick smoke in primary escapeway and crew must abandon vehicle. Miners begin donning SCSRs. Miners must now walk through smoke to escape. First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m. 9

23 Ten miners find door between primary escapeway and belt (alternate escapeway) and begin moving to fresh air. First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m. 10 miners reach fresh air 9

24 Crew members Don Bragg and Elvis Hatfield are discovered missing from the 2 Section crew. Three miners return to smoke-filled intake to begin search to no avail First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m. 7 miners wait in fresh air 9

25 Ten crew members resume evacuation out alternate escapeway First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m. 10 miners continue evacuation in fresh air 9

26 First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m Longwall section loses power. Crew members decide to leave section and begin to move to intake. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m. 10 miners continue evacuation in fresh air 9

27 Ten members of the 2 Section crew arrive outby the fire area at approximately 6:13 p.m First AMS alert and alarm signals 5:14 p.m. First notification to evacuate 5:42 p.m. 9

28 ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION CONCLUSIONS

29 The fire occurred as a result of frictional heating when the longwall belt became misaligned in the 9 Headgate longwall belt takeup storage unit; This frictional heating ignited accumulated combustible materials and the belt; The lack of a fire suppression system allowed the fire to spread; The lack of water compromised fire fighting activities; The lack of separation between the No. 7 Belt entry and the primary escapeway for 2 Section allowed smoke and CO to inundate the primary escapeway;

30 CONCLUSIONS (cont.) Examinations of the mine were inadequate and failed to identify obvious hazardous conditions; Examinations of safety systems failed to identify deficiencies which contributed to the severity and extent of the mine fire; The response to AMS alarm signals was not appropriate; Miners were not evacuated when the fire presented an imminent danger; Escapeways were not properly marked and escapeway drills were not properly conducted;

31 CONCLUSIONS (cont.) The 2 Section was using belt air to ventilate the working section without an approved change to the ventilation plan and without implementing required additional safety measures; Adequate training was not provided for personnel responsible for installing and maintaining the AMS; Adequate training was not provided for personnel responsible for responding to AMS signals.

32 25 Contributory Violations 4 Belt Air Regulations Violations 7 Examinations Violations 5 Fire Protection Violations 3 Escapeway Violations 1 Accumulation of Combustibles Violation 2 Training Violations 1 Equipment Maintenance Violation 1 Evacuation Violation 1 Mine Map Violation

33 PROPOSED ASSESSMENT 25 Contributory Violations Issued; Total Proposed Penalty of $1.5 Million; Largest Civil Penalty Assessed as a result of an MSHA Coal Mine Safety and Health Accident Investigation.

34 Referral for Criminal Investigation US Attorney, Southern District of West Virginia Referred March 28, 2006 Investigation is Ongoing


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