Brookwood miners who died 20 years ago honored Thursday

Coal Miners Brookwood Memorial

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Elise Anzaldua

West Brookwood Church held a 20th-anniversary memorial service Thursday, remembering the 13 lives lost in the mining explosions on Sept. 23, 2001.

The incident was one of the deadliest mining accidents in U.S. history and happened less than two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Retired miner Thomas Wilson said he remembers that tragic day like it just happened.

“It happened on a Sunday,” he said. “I was at home. My phone rang and I came immediately to the No. 5 mine, and we started the rescue process of trying to analyze what we had.”

Mining is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., but Wilson said Brookwood’s mines are even more perilous than average.

“They’re the dustiest mines in the nation, they’re the gassiest mines in the nation, they’re the deepest mines in the nation,” said Wilson.

Now, 20 years after the explosion, Wilson said the families affected are still healing and doing everything they can to keep their loved ones’ memories alive.

“God’s grace is amazing and God’s grace comes in times like this in ways we can’t even imagine,” said Wilson.

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