13 miners killed in 2001 Brookwood explosion remembered during memorial service
BROOKWOOD, Alabama (WIAT) – Thursday marks 20 years ago that 13 men died in a mine explosion in the small community of Brookwood in Tuscaloosa County.
On Thursday, a special memorial ceremony will be held in honor of coal miners killed in the accident at the Jim Walter No.5 resource mine, where the roof collapsed, releasing methane that caused the explosion.
The miners who were killed in the blast include:
- Gaston adams
- Raymond Ashworth
- Nelson Banks
- David Blevins
- Clarence “Bit” Boyd
- Wendell johnson
- John knox
- Dennis mobley
- Charles Clou
- Joe riggs
- Charles smith
- Joe sorah
- Terry stewart
James Blakenship was a miner who was near the well at the time of the explosion and said it continued to be a devastating memory for him, adding that he admired the courage of the miners who returned to work after the explosion . The well was finally closed in 2006.
Despite the two decades that have passed since the crash, Blakenship said their memory remains in the hearts of so many. He said making things safer in the mining industry remains a top priority for him on the United Mine Worker’s Board and that more needs to be done to prevent similar tragedies from happening.
âIt would definitely help get more funding to put more inspectors in the mine,â Blakenship said. “So we can have these mines inspected in their entirety from cover to cover, giving the inspectors more leeway to do their job and write the inspectors citations if they find them.”
Better training of young miners is also an objective that the mining council is trying to set up.
Thomas Wilson was a representative of the United Mine Workers Health and Safety commission at the time of the explosion and knew the 13 miners who were killed. He said each of them loved life, loved each other, and were hard working Americans. Wilson said holding remembrance ceremonies helps those who still mourn their loss.
âHealing and support for the families of other minors. I also believe that if we don’t remember what killed workers, we have to say it again, âWilson said.
The ceremony will take place Thursday at 5 p.m. at West Brookwood Church.