November 20, 2023

Manchin Statement on 55th Anniversary of the Farmington Mine Disaster

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on the 55th anniversary of the Consolidation Coal Company’s No. 9 Mine Tragedy in Farmington, West Virginia.

“On November 20th, 1968, an explosion in the Consolidated Coal No. 9 Mine killed 78 men in my hometown of Farmington, West Virginia and this tragic disaster devastated our entire state. We still feel the loss of our fellow West Virginians to this day. I lost my uncle John Gouzd and my neighbor, along with several of my high school classmates who were in the mine that day. Our state was paralyzed as the days dragged on while we waited with angst for news about our fathers, sons, uncles and brothers. I will never forget my mother’s face when she heard that her brother had been taken from us by the explosion.

“All of West Virginia joined together to mourn those beautiful lives we lost to that tragedy. For myself and many others, advocating for the safety of our coal miners began from a place of personal loss and, over time, transformed into a long-standing fight that continues to this day. As Governor, I fought hard to make necessary changes to keep our brave miners safe so that we never experience this loss again. As Senator, I continue my dedication to improving safety conditions for our miners and ensuring that all of our miners and their families are taken care of for their hard work powering this great nation. This week, Gayle and I encourage all West Virginians to take a moment to remember and honor the 78 courageous West Virginians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our great state and nation.”