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766Enlow Fork miners defend national rescue championship

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  • Rob McGee
    Sep 28 12:38 AM

      September 27, 2003

      Enlow Fork miners defend national rescue championship

      Twenty-five other teams tried recently to wrestle the Mine Rescue National Championship away from the defending champs, Enlow Fork Mine Rescue Team of West Finley, but they failed.

      The miners from the CONSOL Energy mine successfully defended their title at the national competition in Louisville, Ky., which was held Sept. 15-19.

      The National Mine and First Aid Contest is held every two years. Enlow Fork also took first place in 2001, and with the win earlier this month, the team became one of only two teams in the history of the competition to win consecutive championships.

      "We are extremely proud of their performance," Peter B. Lilly, CONSOL's chief operating officer for coal, said in a press release. "Our teams have been truly outstanding during the past several years. Mine rescue is an important part of our emergency response capability."

      In the past five national championships, CONSOL Energy teams have been awarded the first-place trophy four times. Other winning CONSOL Energy teams were Bailey Mine of West Finley, which won in 1997 and the Virginia Operations team that won in 1995.

      In addition to the Enlow Fork team taking first place in the mine rescue, Randy Bombach, benchman on the Enlow Fork team, took third place out of 32 finalists in the bench contact.

      CONSOL Energy has 11 mine rescue teams that train year-round in search, rescue, recovery and fire-fighting techniques for use in coal mine emergencies. Team members participate voluntarily, and many team members are certified emergency medical technicians. Their training and expertise prepares them for searching unknown conditions in a mine following an accident of the discovery of smoke or fire.

      The Enlow Fork team captain is Rodney Henry of Carmichaels. Other team members are Randy Bombach of West Newton; Dennis Cole of Prosperity; Shawn Dewitt of Fairmont, W.Va.; Bernard Geisel of Waynesburg; Robert Gross of Waynesburg; David Leverknight of Washington; George Maxwell of Claysville; Doug Shaffer of Fairmont; William Whipkey of Carmichaels and Terry Winland of Moundsville, W.Va.