West Virginia: Two Coal Miners Missing After Fire

Two West Virginia miners are missing after a conveyer belt caught fire deep inside a coal mine, a state official said.

The fire broke out early Thursday evening inside the Aracoma Alma Mine No. 1 near Mellville, W.Va., in Logan County, according to Caryn Gresham, a spokesperson with the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health, Safety and Training.

The fire started at a conveyer belt drive installation. Although Gresham acknowledged details were still sketchy, she said about a dozen miners near the fire turned around and exited the mine.

As the miners were exiting, two of them got separated from the others and were still missing at press time.

Early on, rescue efforts were focused on containing the fire, but as of late Friday afternoon, Gresham said the fire was under control and rescue teams were looking for the two missing miners.

The Aracoma Alma Mine is operated by Aracoma Coal Co., a subsidiary of Massey Energy. The mine employs about 145 people and produces 1.3 millions tons of coal per year, Gresham said.

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