Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- A Massey Energy subsidiary has agreed to pay $4.2 million in civil and criminal penalties and plead guilty to federal charges stemming from a fatal fire at a West Virginia coal mine.
U.S. Attorney Charles Miller didn't rule out the possibility that individuals might be charged. Miller said today that his investigation of the 2006 fire at Aracoma Coal's Alma No. 1 Mine is ongoing.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration spokeswoman Amy Louviere says the $1.7 million civil penalty is the agency's highest ever against a coal company. The $2.5 million criminal penalty is the second-highest.
State and federal investigators say an overheated conveyer belt caused the fire.
Two miners died after they were separated from the rest of their crew.
Aracoma President John Jones says the company has worked to improve safety at the mine.
Jones says resolving the federal case will help the company and its employees move forward.
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