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TYGART RIVER MINE MAY BE FORCED TO CLOSE AS RESULT OF DAMAGE BY GUNFIRE, EASTERN ASSOCIATED REPORTS

 CHARLESTON, W.Va., June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Gunfire disabled a 138,000-volt transformer at the Tygart River Mine, near Fairmont, W.Va. (Marion County), overnight, creating potentially hazardous conditions that could ultimately result in the mine being closed, Eastern Associated Coal Corp. reported today.
 At least two shots were fired, damaging the power transformer and control box at the substation, causing a complete loss of power at the facility and forcing the evacuation of four workers at 12:20 a.m. Damages are estimated between $250,000 and $500,000.
 "Our immediate concern is the restoration of power at the mine before additional damage takes place," said Eastern Associated spokesperson Patrick Gallagher, who added that company officials were working quickly to determine whether or not the transformer could be repaired.
 "We don't have a back-up transformer at the mine," continued Gallagher. "We have an elaborate system of pumps to control mine water and without power, it is likely the mine will flood in a few days. If that happens, the consequences could be severe.
 "This is only the latest -- but certainly one of the most serious -- examples of the daily violence against Eastern Associated employees and facilities," said Gallagher.
 "It's particularly tragic that this violence was directed at Tygart River. We purchased this mine from American Electric Power a year and a half ago when it was about to be closed, and, together with employees there, have worked hard to turn it into a productive and safe operation."
 The mine's principal coal supply agreement with American Electric Power expires in 1994 and the company is working to negotiate a new agreement or find new customers.
 The Tygart River power transformer is the fourth at Eastern Associated facilities to be disabled by gunfire in recent weeks, causing widespread power losses and threatening employees' safety. Eastern Associated said replacement costs alone for the three transformers are more than $1 million.
 The West Virginia State Police and federal agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating the incident.
 In other strike-related violence, the company reported that a dumpster at the Lightfoot No. 1 Mine in Boone County was deliberately set afire early this morning. The Wharton VFD responded but did not cross the picket line.
 Company security guards attempting to put out the fire were assaulted by flying projectiles fired by "wrist-rockets" manned by persons gathered on the picket line, the company said. No serious injuries were reported and the fire eventually burned itself out.
 "UMWA officials talk about job security for their members," Gallagher said, "but acts like these seriously threaten job security.
 "The union officials say they do not condone violence -- yet it continues and escalates. We can only conclude that UMWA officials have lost control of some of their members."
 -0- 6/30/93
 /CONTACT: Mike Herron or Patrick Gallagher for Eastern Associated, 304-340-1710/


CO: Eastern Associated Coal Company; United Mine Workers of America;
 American Electric Power ST: West Virginia IN: MNG OIL SU:


KC-CD -- PG022 -- 7291 06/30/93 15:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 30, 1993
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