Officials trying new method to contain mine fire

NEWBURG, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia officials say they are trying a new method to contain an underground mine fire that’s been burning for at least three years.

Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation Chief Rob Rice told The Dominion Post that officials think the fire jumped a barrier installed two years ago in the Preston County mine.

He says work will begin this summer at Brocum Mine No. 1, which is south of Newburg. He says the Department of Environment Protection plans to inject a new, nitrogen-based foaming agent into mine voids prior to grouting. Crews will also backfill an additional highwall and excavate a large trench.

It’s unclear how the blaze began but it was found in 2016 after residents complained about smoke and a sulphur smell.

Nearby residents say there’s been no recent problems.

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