Fairview Heights ice rink sinking due to coal mine; Are others in danger?

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by Ray Preston / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 11 at 5:43 PM

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (KMOV) – A closed coal mine in Fairview Heights is causing an ice rink to sink and the ice to crack. Illinois state investigators said they cannot tell if the ground will continue to sage.

One end of the building is now 22 inches higher than the other. And the ground is sagging a section of earth about two football fields long.

The ice rink sits about 50 yards away from an apartment complex. But one expert looking into the mine subsidence says it may be out of danger.

“This particular subsidence event is only impacting this property as far as I can tell,” said Bob Gibson with the Department of Natural Resources.

Gibson said there’s still a lot of work to be done, and there is the possibility the problem could spread.

The Department of Natural Resources says 840,000 acres have been undermined for coal and other minerals. Of that number, 178,000 acres of homes and business sit on land that’s been undermined.

Much of the Metro East sits over a potential trouble spot.

One problem the state has faced is that the maps of the mines were not always accurate.

Gibson says he knows the ground under the ice rink was known as the “St. Louis and O’Fallon Number Two Mine.” It operated nearly 50 years until 1954, and is 150-feet deep.

Officials say they will continue to monitor whether the apartment complex is in any danger.

But they said any spread would likely be eastward, which is an open field.

Click here to visit a website where you can type in your address and see if your neighborhood is over a mine.

 

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