Consol fire reduced to smouldering heap

A FIRE at a Consol Energy coal mine in western Pennsylvania has been reduced to a pile of pile of hot rock and coal.

Greg Tubby

Company spokesman Tom Hoffman told Associated Press all that remained of the fire in 84 mine was a hot pile of coal and rock about 20 feet hight and 45 feet long.

"It is hot enough that if you uncovered it, the fresh air could start it again," he told the wire service.

Hoffman reportedly said two holes had been drilled into the smouldering pile 200m underground to cool in with water.

He said the cause of the fire had not yet been determined, and that the mine would remain closed until state and mine safety officials had completed their investigations.

The fire is the first in a Consol colliery since a fire at Loveridge, which burned for weeks in 1999 and led to the closure of the mine for two years.