Foam Proves Worth in Coal Mine Fire
Recent experience in a coal mine fire in a large operation in western Pennsylvania which proved the foam plug a valuable factor, has been reported to the Coal Division of the Society of Mining Engineers by C. William Parisi, director of safety, Pittsburgh Coal Co. In a paper delivered to the society on March 1 in St. Louis, Mo., he stated that combating coal mine fires in the Pittsburgh Seam is difficult due to overlying laminations of coal and shale which fall as a result of heat generated by the fire. This fire was fought directly with water, delivered at 200 gpm for nine hours until it became apparent no progress was being made.
Fire fighters were forced back repeatedly by smoke and roof conditions. A foam generator was placed in operation after a total elapsed time of eight hours from discovery of the fire. Intermittent operation of the foam generator enabled the fire fighters again to attack the fire directly with water until a decision was made to seal off the area.
Continued use of the foam generator during sealing operations permitted some seals to be constructed within 200 feet of the fire operation. According to Parisi, the foam plug proved capable of controlling coal mine fires and worthy of consideration as a valuable addition to conventional fire fighting equipment.