Upper Big Branch Massey mine explosion, April 5, 2010
In the explosion at the longwall of April 5, 2010 of the Massey mine near Whitesville 29 miners died. 29 helmets with their names on remind the passerby's of the disaster. Some families like Davis family lost 3 members.
While thinking and taking some pictures a car drove up and Delbert got out of the car.
Delbert happened to have a scheduled day off and the young college was changed shifts, they both were part of the crew that lost 29.
There are several memorials along the road, very moving. Eating a bite at the local diner, one can see all the names on the window. That brought it home to me: The whole community is affected when something like that happens. It are not just fathers and husbands, brothers and nephew, but friends and acquaintances and neighbors and customers, all that share the life of the miners.
Delbert is a certified electrician: this is his helmet with the names of all his workmates on the helmet among little stars. He with Skeen Grover installed the first long-wall and the last. A long-wall is like a big slicing machine, cutting of a few inches of coal at the time over a length of 1000 feet. It was at the end of such a wall, where ventilation probably wasn't too good that the explosion occurred. The evidence seems to point to the fact that safety came not first, notwithstanding that Massey's motto was: Safety first, productivity second. Another memorial has the names of the 29 miners written on a piece of coal. The mine has just new owners Alpha operations. Their motto is Do what is right. Let's hope the miners are safer from now on. Glück auf! Delbert and all the crews.