July 23, 2022 – At approximately 8:45 AM, 56 years ago, seven men died and two were injured following a catastrophic explosion in Mount Hope's Siltix Mine. Additional miners passed due to serious injuries in the hours and days that followed.
Historical plaque honoring the Siltix Mine Disaster
Methane gas was the likely cause of this deadly tragedy. Miner Carlos Colliers is attributed to saving the lives of multiple miners after he entered the mine following the explosion, risking his own life.
A 2014 Register-Herald article recounts:
Colliers held a wet cloth over his face as protection against the poison gas. He went into the mine as far as he could, crawling much of the way on his hands and knees. He could go no farther and had decided to turn back when his hand brushed against a loose rock. Colliers picked up the rock and struck it against the floor three times as a signal to anyone who could hear it.
From where he was trapped, Hall heard Colliers knocking, and quickly picked up a piece of lumber and knocked three times in response.
"We must never forget the sacrifices of our miners," Christian Martine said, "These proud West Virginians mined the coal, that forged the steel, upon which our state and nation stand firmly today."