By Samantha Auer, WVUA 23 Staff

BROOKWOOD, Ala. – Sept. 23 marked the 14th anniversary of the deadly mine explosion inside Jim Walter Resources Mine No. 5 in Brookwood.

Thirteen miners were killed when methane gas ignited and a roof collapsed causing two explosions. On Wednesday, residents gathered at Brookwood Church to remember those who died in the explosion. Members of the community said they’ll never forget those who lost their lives.

“At this service, we try to remember all the people in the coal mine, and also other industries around Alabama,” said Lawrence P. Spencer, President of the Alabama Miners Memorial Foundation. “We try to remember everybody that’s lost their lives in this, so people remember it, and it won’t happen again,” he said.

“We lost thirteen miners. It ripped many families, tore their hearts out,” Spencer said. “You work at a mine everyday of your life to provide for your family and then you hear of a brother or sister you know getting injured or losing their life in a coal mine, it’s just tragic. It makes it very hard to go to work.”

Jim Walter Resources Mine No. 5 is located around 2 miles north of Brookwood, according to a report by the United Mine Workers of America, Department of Occupational Health and Safety.  According to a report at the time of the accident, the three working sections were idled for routine maintenance.Thirty-two hourly and supervisory personnel were underground on the afternoon of Sept. 23, 2001. After investigation by the UMWA, they found the coal seam had a number of abnormal geological conditions, compared to many other coal seams mined.

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