Report: Mine shelters across US at risk of failure

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Some 1,500 refuge chambers at U.S. coal mines could have bad fittings on oxygen cylinders, and a newspaper says regulators have known about the problem since January.

An investigation by the Charleston Gazette
( suggests corroded and incorrectly sized
fittings could cause potentially catastrophic failures. It cites
such an incident in West Virginia in January, and says the brass
fittings and valves on both inflatable and steel shelters could be

Last week, West Virginia ordered emergency inspections of up to
500 shelters.

The Office of Miners Health, Safety and Training said Thursday
it didn't have all the information it needed to craft an
appropriate order until September.

It says retrofitting defective equipment is more reasonable than
trying to retrain some 37,000 miners in responding to fires and
Information from: The Charleston Gazette,

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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