Daw Mill Colliery evacuated following underground fire

Silhouette of coal mine pit head Daw Mill Colliery closed in February after a devastating underground fire

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Staff were evacuated and a road was closed following an underground fire at a Warwickshire colliery.

The fire - a continuation of a blaze in October - broke out at the retired colliery at Daw Mill, near Nuneaton, at around 20:30 GMT on Wednesday.

Eyewitness Peter Wardley said smoke "filled the area" and there was a "strong smell of burning coal".

Police closed the B4098, but it has since reopened.

'Spontaneous combustion'

The Coal Authority said it suspected the fire, thought to be at the bottom of the pit, had reacted to Thursday's high winds.

"The road was closed because of poor visibility," added Carl Banton, from the authority. He said emergency services had not been able to access the mine but the fire had died down overnight.

"The colliery has a history of spontaneous combustion," he added.

Prospective owners Harworth Estates said it had suspended demolition work at the site.

A spokesperson said it had also withdrawn 16 staff from the site as a safety precaution.

"Demolition works have been suspended until the fire has stabilised," he said. "Staff will remain offsite until the all-clear has been given by the Coal Authority for them to return."

The colliery closed on 22 February as a result of another underground blaze, which left hundreds of miners out of work.

It was one of the last deep mines in the country and was owned by UK Coal.

Work intended to prevent further fires is being carried out at the site. This includes filling the shafts with limestone and plugging them with clay to starve the flames of oxygen.

The Coal Authority said this work should be completed by January.

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