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Coal mines take several precautions to mitigate the two main causes of explosions: methane gas and coal dust. Methane can explode with the slightest spark if its concentration reaches 5 percent; coal dust is very combustible if too much accumulates.

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Even after 25 men die, 'we still have hope'
Article | The first night, they prayed for a big miracle. The next day, people in the Coal River Valley were left hoping for a small one -- and wondering how many of the dead they knew. By evening, workers were drilling through a Swiss-cheese mountainside to reach four miners who might still be alive after th

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