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UMWA marking 44th anniversary of W.Va. mine blast

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — For the 44th year, the United Mine Workers of America is holding a memorial service marking the 1968 coal mine explosion that killed 78 West Virginia miners.

The public event is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at the Farmington No. 9 memorial, just north of Mannington. UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts is the keynote speaker.

The Marion County mine owned by Consolidation Coal — now Consol Energy, based in Canonsburg, Pa. — exploded at 5:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, 1968, with 99 men inside.

Only 21 escaped. Nineteen of the 78 who died remain entombed there.

The blast prompted Congress to pass the federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.


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