The following are a few facts about the Alma coal mine in West Virginia, and the fire that broke out on Thursday night:

NAME: Alma No. 1 mine, owned by Aracoma Coal, a subsidiary of Massey Energy Co., based in Richmond, Va.

LOCATION: Melville, W.Va., 60 miles southwest of Charleston and some 400 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

SIZE: Labyrinth with four passageways, each about 4 miles long. Mine extends some 900 feet below ground.

FIRE SITE: The point where a side conveyor belt meets the main line that brings the coal out.

WHO WAS IN THE MINE: Twenty-one miners.

WHERE THEY WERE: About 10,000 feet from the entrance.

TIME OF FIRE: A carbon monoxide monitor set off an alarm at 5:36 p.m.