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Coal Heritage Sites in the Fairmont Coal Fields of Northern West Virginia
Item 2 of 16
The memorial honors the 78 miners killed in an explosion on November 20, 1968.

Plant, Botany, Biome, Font

On November 20, 1968, a catastrophic explosion rocked the Consol No. 9 coal mine outside of Farmington, West Virginia. Seventy-eight miners perished in that accident. While the cause of the explosion was never determined, it served as a catalyst for a series of landmark mine safety laws that were passed to protect miners.

In 1969, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act mandated regular inspections of coal mines and fines for all violations found. Eight years later, in 1977, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act strengthened and expanded rights for miners, required mine rescue teams to be established, and created the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

In 1968, 311 coal miners lost their lives in work-related accidents. Another 182 miners were killed in metal and nonmetal mining accidents. And annual mining fatalities continued to be measured in the hundreds for more than a decade.

Mine safety has improved significantly since then, not only because of the laws and regulations that were passed, but also because of the efforts of industry and changing mining practices. These days, total mine fatalities are measured in the low double digits.

The list of those who died are as follows (an asterisk ( * ) indicates the unrecovered):

Arthur A. Anderson Jr.

Jack O. Armstrong*

Thomas D. Ashcraft

Jimmy Barr

Orval D. Beam*

John Joseph Bingamon*

Thomas Boggess

Louis S. Boros*

Harold W. Butt

Lee E. Carpenter

David V. Cartwright

William E. Currence*

Dale E. Davis

Albert R. DeBerry

George O. Decker

Howard A. Deel*

James E. Efaw

Joe Ferris

Virgil "Pete" Forte*

H. Wade Foster*

Aulda G. Freeman Jr.*

Robert L. Glover

Forrest B. Goff

John F. Gouzd

Charles F. Hardman

Ebert E. Hartzell

Simon P. Hayes

Paul F. Henderson*

Roy F Henderson Sr.

Steve Horvath

Junior M. Jenkins*

James Jones

Pete J. Kaznoski Sr.*

Robert D. Kerns

Charles E. King

James Ray Kniceley

Charles Korsh Jr.

George R. Kovar

David Mainella Sr.

Walter R. Martin

Frank Matish*

Hartsel L. Mayle

Dennis N. McDonald

Emilio D. Megna*

Jack D. Michael*

Wayne R. Minor

Charles E. Moody

Paul O. Moran

Adron W. Morris

Joseph Muto

Randall R. Parsons

Raymond R. Parsons

Nicholas Petro

Fred Burt Rogers

William D. Sheme

Robert J. Sigley

Henry J. Skarzinski

Russell D. Snyder

John Sopuch*

Jerry L. Stoneking

Harry L. Strait

Albert Takacs

William L. Takacs*

Dewey Tarley

Frank Tate, Jr.

Goy A. Taylor

Hoy B. Taylor

Edwin A. Tennant*

Homer E. Tichenor

Dennis L. Toler

John W. Toothman

Gorman H. Trimble

Roscoe M. Triplett

William T. Walker

James H. Walter

Lester B. Willard

Edward A. Williams*

Lloyd William Wilson

Jerry R. Yanero

Pete Zogel, Jr.