The battle continues to put out a fire at an abandoned coal mine that's been burning for more than three months.
The Simmons Coal Mine closed back in 1930. Somehow this summer, the ground mixed with coal dust caught on fire. Crews are working hard to put out the fire before it reaches a major coal seem 60 feet underground.
The Rockport Fire Department has been called out to the piece of land along US 62 just outside of McHenry over the last couple of months because it has been smoldering.
Ohio County Emergency Management Director Charlie Shields says he found out just before Christmas that the ground above an abandon coal mine is on fire.
"Once we got down there and started investigating further, we realized it was above our capability as a county to take care of this, so I called in the state the abandon mine people and they came in," Shields said.
The fire started on the surface of the ground before spreading into a crack in the dam near Broadway Lake. It continued underground from there.
"There has been one accident due to the smoke going over the road where an on looker side someone else's mirror," Shields said.
Shields says crews plan to put out the fire by removing the coal sludge around the dam and bringing in clean dirt. Officials say the goal is to stop the fire before it reaches a coal seem.
"If the fire does reach that coal seem, it is undetermined how far the fire could reach," Shields said.
It is not known how deep the fire is or how it was started.
So far, no homes or the church located next to the coal mine are in any danger of being caught on fire.
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