Memorial Service for miners draws a crowd - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Memorial Service for miners draws a crowd

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"We started hearing some stuff over the phones that something had happened at number five," said Larry Spencer.

Spencer was working underground at mine number seven in Brookwood when he heard something had gone terribly wrong at mine number five.

"And when I got out I went straight to number five's unit hall and found out that there had been an explosion and people were still under ground," said Spencer.

Thirteen of those people did not make it out alive. The tragedy rocked this small community.

"It was devastating. It had the whole community tore all to pieces," he said.

Twelve years to the day, just yards away from where the explosions happened, prayers are still going up for those impacted by the loss.

Thomas Wilson is oversaw the 12th Annual Miner's Memorial Service.

"I just got in the house when I received a phone call that we had an accident at number five mine," said Wilson.

He is a health and safety representative for the United Mine Workers of America, and was part of the initial investigation team following the explosions.

"When that roof came in, methane gas came in with it. And the electrical equipment ignited the methane gas and we had a double explosion," said Wilson.

Spencer hopes this year's memorial service will strengthen the community's bond, and continue healing their wounds.

"I hope they understand that we care about them. We're here for them. We plan to do this to remember the people who have lost their lives in coal mines," said Spencer.

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