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MSHA, Widows Agree to Settle Mine Fire Lawsuit


The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration has agreed to pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit over the deaths of two miners in a 2006 fire at an underground coal mine in West Virginia.

Under the proposed settlement, MSHA also agreed to develop a training course at the National Mine Safety and Health Academy near Beckley on preventing fires at underground coal and non-metal mines.

The widows of Don Bragg and Ellery Hatfield sued MSHA in April 2010. The lawsuit accused MSHA of negligence in its regulation of the Aracoma Alma No. 1 mine before the fire occurred on Jan. 19, 2006.

The widows' lawyer, Bruce Stanley, said Tuesday that they hope the proposed training course will prevent another Aracoma.

An MSHA spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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