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It’s premature to say debris fire in old Pa. coal mine is out, DEP says

TREVORTON- It’s premature to conclude a fire in an abandoned coal mine in Northumberland County has been extinguished, the state Department of Environmental Protection says.

However, all signs point to significant progress, spokesperson Megan Lehman said Saturday.

As of Thursday there were no visual indications of steam or smoke from the mine or areas that had been vented, she said.

Temperatures in the shaft were in the 48-degree range and no carbon monoxide was detected at any location, she said. Temperatures at mid-week were about 53 degrees.

The highest temperature recorded by a probe lowered proximately 150 feet in early May was 68 degrees.

Applying water to the fire stopped Wednesday afternoon and has not been restarted, Lehman said. None will be applied over the weekend unless there is a dramatic change, she said.

Price quotes are to be received Monday from contractors to drill boreholes, she said. The boreholes will provide additional points for temperature readings and air testing, she explained.

Data collected could indicate if the fire discovered April 24 has been extinguished, he said.

Approximately 1.7 million gallons of water have been put on the fire by Tri-County Spreading of Paxinos, a contractor DEP hired to relieve the Trevorton Fire Co.

Video taken earlier this month revealed a significant amount of household rubbish at a depth of 230 to 250 feet but it did not appear to be burning, Lehman said. Very few tires were visible at that depth, she said.

The fire was discovered April 24 in the mine that reportedly ceased operations in the 1970s. It is in a rugged area near Shingara Road in Zerbe Twp. not far from Trevorton.

DEP is utilizing funds from the state’s annual abandoned mine land grant from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to pay for the firefighting effort.

The funds come from fees paid by active coal mine operators on each ton of coal mined.

Read More: It’s premature to say debris fire in old Pa. coal mine is out, DEP says

2021-05-15 19:36:06

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