Farmington mine disaster remembered 50 years later

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Farmington mine disaster remembered 50 years later

Decades after the Farmington mine disaster, which ultimately claimed the lives of 78 miners, one local woman says the nearly 50 year memory is still painful.

“It leaves an empty spot in your heart,” said Viola Brown.

On November 20th, 1968, an explosion tore through Consolidation Coal’s number nine mine with 99 miners still inside.

On that day, WBOY was there with our camera rolling as the world watched and waited.

Brown’s mother was also there, holding out hope that her son, 40-year-old mine section boss, Dale Davis, would make it out alive.

Ultimately, Dale Davis and 77 other men perished.

“When we found out the mines exploded it was devastating to our family,” said Brown.

Now, as the 50th anniversary of the Farmington mine disaster approaches, there are still more questions than answers. 

“You miss them and wish it hadn’t happened,” said Brown.


During the month of November, several events will take place commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Farmington mine disaster including a play, “Remembering No. 9: Stories from the Farmington Mine Disaster” at North Marion High School November 16 and 17. 

An exhibition of images taken by Bob Campione of the disaster will be on display at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center now through January.


Also, on Tuesday, November 13, Reverend Richard Bowyer will be presenting “The Farmington Mine Disaster 50 Years Later.” Bowyer will discuss what he saw in the town of Farmington during and after the explosion. 

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