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Memorial Dedicated To Victims Of One Of Worst WV Mine Disasters

Reported by: Send eMail Katy Brown
Reported: Jun. 28, 2014 9:42 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 28, 2014 9:49 PM EDT

Layland Miners
Eyewitness News Photo

Layland, Fayette County , West Virginia

On Saturday, the community of Layland remembered fallen miners who were victims in one of West Virginia's worst mining accidents.

"Today we dedicate the Layland Miners Memorial,” Ray Cook, of the Layland Miners Memorial Committee, said. “March 2 1915 - 112 hardworking men took their miner's last walk."

The 1915 explosion at Layland No. 3 happened where Layland Baptist Church now stands. Pieces of the mine still stand.

The cause of the explosion was never resolved.

Federal investigators said ignition of methane caused by coal dust led to the disaster, but officials in West Virginia claimed blasting of a coal face was the cause.

"My grandfather and my great uncle were killed, plus several cousins," Marvin Fitzpatrick said.

The men lost in the disaster 99 years ago are now being remembered with a beautiful new permanent memorial.

Fitzpatrick was one of four living relatives at the ceremony.

The Layland Miners Memorial Committee said it's because of those four men and their families that the memorial is there.

"That just fills the heart up, because they were part of this,” Howard Perrinaro, with the committee, said. “You lose grandfathers and uncles. It's something you never would have forgotten, you know."

And the memorial was more than enough for Fitzpatrick.

"I don't know what could be better,” he said. “It's 100 years in coming, but it's here. That's the main thing."

Now family, friends and the community can always go there to remember loved ones lost too soon.

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