BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – It’s been ten years since the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion killed 29 miners in Raleigh County.
Ten years ago at 3:27 P.M., a coal dust explosion occurred 1000 feet below ground at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County. 29 out of 31 people at the site were killed. It was the largest mine disaster in the United States since 1970.
On this tenth year anniversary, the city of Beckley held a small ceremony to remember those who were lost.
Mick Bates, a Delegate for Beckley, said it’s important to remember what happened, but also how the community came together during that time.
“I think it’s particularly appropriate that we remember today and the sadness but also how this community came together and pulled together and helped each other through a terrible time,” Bates said.
The mine memorial in Beckley was funded and built just a short time after the disaster to remember those that lost their lives. Memorial services have been held every year in Beckley since the first year after the disaster.