By Matthew Bates Thursday 28 February 2013 Updated: 04/03 11:59
A FEROCIOUS fire at a coal mine near Coventry could signal its closure, bosses have warned.
It could take up to six months to get Daw Mill operational again after the biggest blaze in decades broke out on Friday.
The Arley-based mine had already been at risk after UK Coal announced it was to restructure its business last year.
And chiefs admitted the fire had put the site's security 'seriously at risk'. They will consult staff over their decision in the coming weeks.
A team of 14 workers had stayed at the scene in a bid to put out the flames after the site was evacuated of 92 underground workers.
But four hours after the blaze started they were also forced to leave the mine, which has now been completely shut off to reduce oxygen levels.
It broke out at a depth of 540 metres in a part of the site which had been inspected by regulators earlier in the week.
Carbon monoxide levels shot up from seven parts per million (ppm) to over 10,000ppm in just four hours.
Kevin McCullough, UK Coal chief executive, said the fire was on a scale not seen for decades.
"I want to thank everyone in the mine that day for their professionalism and commitment," he said.
"From the mine workers that fought the fire initially to the mine management team that evacuated all workers safely – everyone played their part.
"The suddenness of the fire and its ferocity is something we train for and hope never to see, so the safe evacuation of over 100 miners is something the whole team can be proud of."
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