FARMINGTON, W.Va. (WDTV) – In 1968, the local communities of Farmington and Mannington were rocked by the mine disaster at the Farmington number 9. An explosion and fire killed 78 miners, 17 of which remain entombed in the rubble of the mine.
The nation had its eyes on West Virginia and a year later, in 1969, Congress passed the nation’s first mine safety and health legislation. This legislation aimed to eliminate fatal accidents and reduce accidents and health hazards in general.
Today, the community and surrounding the area came together to Flat Run Memorial to pay respect and honor these victims from nearly 50 years ago. The UMWA International Secretary-Treasurer, Levi D Allen, and District 31 Vice President, Mike Caputo, were in attendance to commemorate the victims and mourn with the state.
Levi Allen said, “There are literally thousands of people in this area that are alive today because of the sacrifice they made.”
Mike Caputo told us, “These folks are heros to us and their widows particularly are heroes. They could have just sat home and mourned as they had every right in the world to do, but they said no, we are not going to let other families go through what we went through. By golly were going to go to Washington and were going to make a difference and they did.”
Although it’s been nearly 50 years since the incident, the community still gathers together to remember the losses we have suffered as West Virginians and even a nation.
“It’s meaningful to the families that we have not forgot the sacrifices they made and I was talking to some family members. We don’t care if there’s 3 foot of snow, we don’t care if the rain is pouring down, we don’t care if it’s 150 degrees heat, we’re going to be here every year to honor those men and their families because they have done so much to change the lives of coal miners. We absolutely owe them that and we’re going to keep that promise,” said Caputo.
These miners sacrifices will not be soon forgotten as decades later people continue to come together and honor these brave men.
By: Mehgan Haskiell