MSHA FINES MASSEY COAL $1.5 MILLION - Largest Fine Ever Issued

Federal investigators say there was reckless disregard for safety inside Massey's Aracoma Alma No. 1 Mine.

The fatal underground fire killed miners Don Bragg and Elvis Hatfield. After being separated from their crew on January 19th, 2006, heavy smoke from a belt fire caused their deaths.

The $1.5 million fine is the largest ever federal fine for a fatal mining accident.

A federal criminal investigation is continuing.

An investigative team identified 25 violations that directly contributed to the accident including the misalignment of the mine belt that caught on fire, no fire suppression system, a lack of water, improper ventilation in the mining area and inadequate response to the initial alarms.

The owner of Sago mine, where a dozen miners died last year, announced earlier this week that the mine will be closed. It had also been cited for numerous safety violations.