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Mine Disasters in
the United States

RFH Coal Company
No. 1 Mine Explosion

Craynor, Floyd County, Kentucky
January 20, 1982
No. Killed - 7

On January 20, 1982, at approximately 9:40 a.m., a coal dust explosion occurred in the 001 section of RFH Coal Co.'s No. 1 Mine located at Mink Branch near Craynor, Floyd County, Kentucky.  All seven miners working underground at the time of the explosion were killed.

MSHA investigators concluded that coal dust ignited in the No. 5 room when explosives were detonated in the developing crosscut between the Nos. 5 and 6 rooms.  The crosscut was being mined from the No. 6 room toward the No. 5 room.  Prior to blasting, the coal remaining in the crosscut between the two rooms was approximately 1.52 m (5 ft.) thick.

When the crosscut was blasted, it shot through into the No. 5 room.  The flames from the explosion were not contained within the boreholes due to either a blown-out or blown-through shot, excessive explosives used per hole, or an overburdened or underburdened shot.

The flames that resulted ignited a cloud of coal dust in the No. 5 room.  The flames then propagated into the No. 6 room as well as out of the No. 5 room into other areas of the mine.

Conditions and practices that contributed to the explosion and its propagation included:
  • Failure to apply water or other effective methods to coal dust on the ribs, roof and floor, particularly at distances less than 12.2 m (40 ft.) from the face, to reduce dispersibility and to minimize the explosion hazard.

  • Failure to use line brattices or other approved devices in the No. 5 room to provide adequate ventilation in the face area to remove suspended coal dust.

  • Failure to apply sufficient quantities of rock dust to the mine surfaces to render the coal dust inert, and retard the propagation of explosions.

  • Permitting coal dust (including float coal dust) and loose coal to accumulate along entries, rooms, and areas outby the working section.

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume II

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