MSHA Holds Hearing On Proposed Safety Chambers

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - The lone survivor of an underground
explosion that killed five coal miners in Kentucky two years ago
says he believes most of his co-workers would have survived if the
federal government had required protective chambers stocked with a
supply of oxygen.

Paul Ledford of Dayhoit made it out of the Darby mine in remote
Harlan County even though the explosion and a flash fire made the
air unbreathable. Three of his co-workers suffocated. Two died from
injuries in the explosion.

Now, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration may require
coal companies to provide protective shelters in all of the
nation's nearly 600 underground coal mines.

The federal agency is holding a hearing Tuesday in Lexington to
gather public comment on the need for the shelters.

A similar hearing was held last week in West Virginia and
another is scheduled Thursday in Alabama.

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