Seven years ago today, there was a tragic coal mining accident in the town of Whitesville in
Boone County. A big explosion ripped through Performance Coal Company’s Upper Big Branch
Mine during the afternoon hours on April 5th, 2010. This disaster claimed 29 miners lives.
Americans watched as search and rescue efforts went on for many days; rescuers even
searched underground. This remains the nation’s worst coal mining disaster since 1970.
A thorough investigation and trial into Performance Coal’s mother company Massey Energy, this explosion resulted in the conviction of Massey Energy’s CEO Don Blankenship for his role in the disaster. There was a lack of basic coal mine safety practices, Massey Energy failed to provide the correct safety measures, which could have prevented the blast.
The Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial is a beautiful laser etched slab of stone lined with
chunks of coal alone its bed. The memorial is located along WV Route 3 in Whitesville. The
current memorial was dedicated in the summer of 2012. Family members and friends honor the miners who passed away from the disaster by decorating the memorial with flowers and wreaths today. There is even a second temporary memorial in front of Upper Big Branch. Wreaths and coal miner hard hats along with pictures of who passed away from this horrible disaster were displayed in front of an unused mining structure.