Man accused of smoking cigarette charged with risking catastrophe


GREENE COUNTY, Pa. - A former Greene County miner is facing several charges after allegations that he smoked a cigarette in a mine.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the defendant as Donald Adams Jr., 51. Adams held two bituminous coal mining certifications from the Commonwealth and worked at the Emerald Mine, an underground bituminous coal mine, which is in Franklin Township, Greene County.

According to the criminal complaint, miners working underground in the Emerald Mine smelled heavy cigarette smoke toward the end of one of their shifts and discovered a green water bottle and a burned cigarette near the air lock doors.

The charges state that after collecting the water bottle and the cigarette the workers exited the air lock doors, immediately smelled cigarette smoke and found Adams seated in the vicinity.

Kane said that more than 100 miners were working in the Emerald Mine during Adams' shift and methane gas was present in the mine.

"The dangers of smoking in an underground mine are considerable," Chief Deputy Attorney General Glenn Parno said. "The Environmental Crimes Section is committed to vigorously pursuing criminal violations of the Commonwealth's mining laws, especially violations that jeopardize the health and safety of mine workers."

Adams is charged with one count of unlawful conduct, one count of risking a catastrophe and one count of recklessly endangering another person.

He was arraigned and released on $50,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday.