Senators Manchin, Capito remember miners lost in Farmington Mine Disaster

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 11:25 AM EST
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - It’s been 55 years since dark clouds of smoke filled the skies of Marion County after one of the deadliest mine disasters in our country’s history.

An explosion killed 78 people at the Farmington No. 9 Mine on this date in 1968.

At the time, 99 miners were inside, and the explosion could be heard from miles away. The cause of the explosion was never determined.

There is now a Farmington No. 9 Mine Memorial located in Mannington that honors the 78 miners who died in the explosion.

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) released statements on Monday remembering the 78 miners who died in the explosion.

Senator Manchin released the following statement:

On November 20th, 1968, an explosion in the Consolidated Coal No. 9 Mine killed 78 men in my hometown of Farmington, West Virginia and this tragic disaster devastated our entire state. We still feel the loss of our fellow West Virginians to this day. I lost my uncle John Gouzd and my neighbor, along with several of my high school classmates who were in the mine that day. Our state was paralyzed as the days dragged on while we waited with angst for news about our fathers, sons, uncles and brothers. I will never forget my mother’s face when she heard that her brother had been taken from us by the explosion.

All of West Virginia joined together to mourn those beautiful lives we lost to that tragedy. For myself and many others, advocating for the safety of our coal miners began from a place of personal loss and, over time, transformed into a long-standing fight that continues to this day. As Governor, I fought hard to make necessary changes to keep our brave miners safe so that we never experience this loss again. As Senator, I continue my dedication to improving safety conditions for our miners and ensuring that all of our miners and their families are taken care of for their hard work powering this great nation. This week, Gayle and I encourage all West Virginians to take a moment to remember and honor the 78 courageous West Virginians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great state and nation.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Senator Shelley Moore Capito posted the following statement to social media Monday morning:

As a result of the mine disaster, U.S. Congress passed the 1969 Coal Mine Safety and Health Act, which strengthened safety standards for mine inspections.