SALT LAKE CITY — The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration on Monday levied fines totaling more than $111,000 against the owner and operator of a coal mine in which 27 people died during a fire.
The fines, the largest assessed by the Labor Department agency under the 1977 Mine Safety and Health Act, were based on 34 alleged safety violations, including $77,000 for nine the agency said contributed directly to the 1984 fire at the Wilberg Mine.
Mine owner Utah Power & Light Co. of Salt Lake City and Emery Mining Corp. of Orem, Utah, the former operator, have contested the citations. That requires a hearing before an administrative law judge, for which a date has not yet been set.
Fire Blamed on Compressor
Utah Power & Light officials dispute MSHA's findings on the cause of the fire, which has been blamed on a faulty air compressor, and object to having the utility's name on the citations, spokesman John Ward said Monday.