Coalmine methane fire in Kuzbass kills one, two receive burns

KRASNOYARSK, July 24 (Itar-Tass) — Methane burst into flames in the Krasnogorskaya coalmine in the Kemerovo Region overnight. At the moment 64 miners were in the mine. Sixty three were evacuated to the surface. One miner died.

According to the Emergencies Ministry’s Siberian regional centre, two miners with burns were taken to hospital in Prokopyevsk, and other five asked for medical assistance, but they did not need hospitalization.

The Kemerovo Region’s Governor Aman Tuleyev ordered to form a commission to investigate the causes of the tragedy and in particular the sudden methane discharge.

Experts already give versions, supposing that methane concentration could be high in exhausted underground sections and it could cause the ignition.

However, a coalmine spokesman said methane concentration was within safe levels at the moment. It was a sudden methane discharge, he said. New equipment has been installed in the mine to control the underground gas situation, he noted.

Sources in the headquarters dealing with the accident consequences confirmed that before the explosion inspections had been conducted in the mine with the participation of the federal ecological, technological and nuclear monitoring agency (Rostekhnadzor) and the Russian Emergencies Ministry to check the safety of the mining work. During the inspections methane was within safe levels, and no violations of the accident prevention regulations were found.

A criminal case is opened over the accident on charges of violation of the safety regulations in mining work that caused death of one or more people. The Criminal Code envisages up to seven years’ imprisonment for it.

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