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This paper describes a wireless sensor network for mine safety monitoring. Based on the characteristics of underground mine gallery and the requirements for mine safety monitoring, we proposed a distributed heterogeneous hierarchical mine safety monitoring prototype system, namely HHMSM This system is capable of monitoring methane concentration, and locating miner. We proposed a novel overhearing-based adaptive data collecting scheme which exploits the redundancy and correlation of the sampling readings in both time and space to reduce traffic and control overhead with a well-bounded offset error for large-scale sensor networks. This mechanism is easy to implement and low-cost compared to other more theoretically based mechanisms such as Kalman filter. Experimental results show that HHMSM achieves better performance on flexibility, correctness, coverage, and lifetime compared with other existing wireless mine safety monitoring systems.