CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the wake of last week's buyout of Massey Energy, Alpha Natural Resources was cited in a fatal roof fall that occurred last October and hit with three "imminent danger" orders at mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.
The roof fall occurred at one of Alpha's mines, while the three orders issued by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration targeted operations Alpha acquired in the Massey transaction.
William R. Dooley, 56, of Oak Hill, died on Oct. 11, 2010, when piece of roof rock -- measuring 30 inches high, 66 inches long and four to seven inches thick -- fell on him at Alpha subsidiary Kingston Mining's Kingston No. 1 Mine near Scarbro.
In a report made public Monday, MSHA investigators found that the accident occurred because the company "failed to identify hazards created by mining an extended cut in adverse roof conditions and improperly supported the roof in an area that contained adverse roof."
Investigators said that mining the extended cut of coal created a brow, a low place in the mine roof. The change in mining height prompted roof bolt spacing that was too wide in the area of the brow, and mine management did not ensure that adequate supplemental roof supports were installed, according to the MSHA report.
"Management oversight of adverse roof conditions was not adequate," MSHA investigators concluded. "The approved roof control plan was not complied with in that management failed to evaluate adequately the changing geologic conditions and continued mining a 25-foot depth cut."
MSHA issued two citations to Alpha for violating its roof control plan, one for the wide roof-bolt spacing and the other for taking the extended cut of coal despite adverse roof conditions. MSHA had not yet assessed fines for the citations.
In a prepared statement, Alpha spokesman Rick Nida said that the roof fall occurred only minutes after Dooley and a co-worker had completed bolting the uneven section of roof.