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Fire at Young Zinc Mine injures 1, traps 3 underground

Being injured on the job can be a frightening experience. Employees in Knoxville and throughout the state of Tennessee expect that their employers will maintain a reasonably safe work environment. However, sometimes things go wrong.

Last week, a diesel fire erupted in at the Young Zinc Mine in New Market, Tennessee, east of Knoxville. A fire department representative said the source of the blaze was a drill rig located 800 feet below the surface. Reports say more than 50 miners were in the mine when the drill rig caught fire.

As of the middle of last week, three workers were trapped in a bunker about a mile underground. They have reportedly spoken with mine officials and are said to be safe. Two people suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to Jefferson Memorial for treatment.

Fortunately, the Tennessee Mine Rescue team reported to the scene to help free the trapped miners. The Mine Safety Health Administration, a federal agency, also visited the mine during the fire.

It's likely that not many people in the Knoxville area have been involved in a situation like this, but it is not hard to image how frightening it would be. It appears that most of the people working that day are safe, however, a few people required treatment for smoke inhalation, which can cause severe damage as it limits oxygen intake. In fact, according to WebMD, smoke inhalation is the number one cause of fire-related deaths.

It is important that the miners injured in this fire, and other workers in the Knoxville area who have been injured while working, know that they may be eligible for workers' compensation. Experienced attorneys in the area understand the complexities of filing a workers' compensation claim and may be helpful in navigating the process.

Source:, "1 injured, 3 trapped in fire at E. Tennessee zinc mine," Dec. 28, 2011

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