The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Montcoal Mine Disaster

April 5, 2011

Events are scheduled for today

On the first anniversary of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster, many are expected to stop and share a moment of silence today in respect for the 29 miners who died and two injured and to honor the first responders, mine rescue teams, family members and friends left to mourn.

A private, invitation-only ceremony will be held 6 p.m. at Whitesville Elementary School, while a public event, hosted by the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, will take place at First Christian Church in Beckley at 3 p.m. Many more county and statewide events are scheduled, including the laying of a wreath at the Miners Memorial in Charleston at 10 a.m. by acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.

BRCCC project chairman Mick Bates said the chamber is also encouraging individuals to wear their stripes, whether it’s a coal miner’s uniform, striped shirt or tie.

“We want everybody in Beckley and Raleigh County to wear stripes to work that day as a sign of our support,” he said.

At 3 p.m., the estimated time of the UBB explosion, the chamber will hold a public ceremony at First Christian Church, located at the corner of Fayette and Prince streets.

The Beckley Fire Department will ring a bell from one of its retired fire trucks 29 times. The ceremony will also include Scripture reading, lighting of candles, reading of names of the 29 deceased miners and a moment of prayer and reflection, Bates said.

The chamber will also unveil a pictorial rendering of a future marker similar to that of the Eccles Mine Explosion marker at the Raleigh County Courthouse lawn.

In conjunction with the ceremony, the chamber has asked all local churches to ring their bells and for individuals to observe 1 minute and 29 seconds of silence at that time, Bates said.

During the moment of silence, the chamber is asking businesses and individuals to observe a “blackout” and turn off all lights.

Tomblin is requesting statewide observances to occur starting at 3:01 p.m. today in honor of the victims. Tomblin requested every church in the state to ring its bell 29 times at that time.

In Whitesville, a private ceremony planned and organized by a committee, consisting of Whitesville council members, the mayor and volunteers, appointed by the town of Whitesville, will commence at 6 p.m.

The ceremony will begin with seating of the families and follow with posting of the colors by the Charleston Fire Department Honor Guard. The national anthem will follow with an opening prayer by Pastor David Minturn next.

The ceremony committee’s leader, David Hodges, also assistant fire chief and EMS operations manager at Whitesville Fire Department, will offer a welcome, and then local singer Matt Jones will perform a musical selection.

A gospel passage will be read by West Virginia State Police chaplain Jim Mitchell. Then, Mitchell will read the names of each of the 29 deceased miners. A bell will ring after each name is read.

Tomblin, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Sen. Joe Manchin and Rep. Nick Rahall will share brief remarks.

The ceremony is closed to the public, but it will be streamed live at www.facesofthemine. com.

The ceremony to be held in Beckley will be available through a webcast via a link at www.wvnstv.com.

Bates asked all who plan to attend the First Christian Church ceremony to be seated by 2:45 p.m.

— E-mail: nbrockman@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Montcoal Mine Disaster
  • UBB report 3 Independent investigation says Upper Big Branch disaster was preventable

    A series of explosions that ripped through the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal just over a year ago, killing 29 miners and shocking the nation, were preventable, a report released Thursday stated.

    May 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • Families not surprised Massey was irresponsible

    For the father of one of the victims of the tragedy at Upper Big Branch, hearing investigators say the accident was preventable and largely due to ignoring important safety measures came as no surprise.

    May 19, 2011

  • UBB report provides insight into future of mine safety

    Following an independent investigation into the Upper Big Branch explosion, investigators offered more than 50 suggestions for improving the safety of coal miners underground, and lawmakers across the state and nation have taken notice.

    May 19, 2011

  • MSHA investigation not complete, but mostly in line with independent panel's report

    The public received a few answers to questions about the Upper Big Branch mine explosion Thursday from an independent team, but federal investigators are still completing their investigation.

    May 19, 2011

  • 11 panel findings and suggestions for safety improvements

    As part of the independent investigation of the April 5, 2010, explosion at Upper Big Branch by the Governor’s Independent Investigation Panel, the authors of the report offered the following 11 findings that were accompanied by multiple suggestions for safety improvement.

    May 19, 2011

  • Council may choose outside 4 Beckley mayoral hopefuls

    With the tenure of long-time Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh ending on Dec. 31, members of the city’s Common Council plan to select an interim mayor at a special Jan. 2 meeting.

    December 13, 2013

  • W.Va. moves to unlicense Upper Big Branch foreman

    West Virginia mine safety officials are moving to revoke the license of an Upper Big Branch mine foreman they say didn’t turn on his methane detector when he was supposed to be checking for the explosive gas.
    The Charleston Gazette says a hearing for Jeremy Burghduff is set for May 15 before the state Coal Mine Safety Board of Appeals.

    April 12, 2012

  • UPDATED: Report also criticizes regulators in UBB mine blast

    The independent investigation that blames the deadliest U.S. coal mine explosion in decades on owner Massey Energy Co. also points out problems with how federal and state regulators policed the West Virginia coal mine where 29 died last year.

    May 19, 2011

  • UBB Scene UPDATED: Families seek justice for fatal UBB mine blast

    Relatives of the 29 men killed in the deadliest U.S. coal accident since 1970 said Thursday the findings of an independent probe confirm what they long suspected, saying Massey Energy Co. cared more about coal than workers’ safety, threatened to fire those who complained and let dangerous conditions build in an ill-fated mine.

    May 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • remember Remembering the 29

    A year after the tragic loss of 29 West Virginia coal miners at a Raleigh County mine, public officials gathered Tuesday evening with victims’ families, rescue workers and others affected by the tragedy.

    April 6, 2011 1 Photo