West Virginia Mines Make Progress on Refuge Chambers

September 15, 2008

Manufacturers delivered nearly 200 airtight refuge chambers to West Virginia coal mines.

State regulators became the first in the nation to mandate the chambers after 12 trapped men died after a January 2006 explosion at the Sago Mine. The chambers are designed to provide enough air, water and other necessities to keep trapped miners alive at least four days.

Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training director Ron Wooten says Atlanta-based Strata Products Incorporated delivered 125 refuges, while Lester-based A. L. Lee Corporation delivered 71.

The state’s underground mines need at least 310 chambers to meet requirements of having a shelter on each working section.

Wooten says mines ordered 516 units as some are placing the chambers along escape-ways as well.

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