Campbells Creek community on edge after mining accident - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Campbells Creek community on edge after mining accident

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One man died and another worker sustained minor injuries after an accident at the Blue Creek preparation plant in Kanawha County on Wednesday afternoon.

A hydraulic pump burst on a belt press just after 4 p.m., according to an official with the West Virginia Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The names of the workers have not been released at this time.

The complex is located off Campbells Creek Drive, approximately five miles from Route 60.

Meanwhile a community sits on edge as people wait to find out more about the worker killed so close to home.

Big Bottom Missionary Baptist Church sits less than five miles away from the Blue Creek Mining Complex.

People knelt before the altar Wednesday night to pray for the two families in pain.

"It hits right at home," said Kelly Elswick, who lives next to the complex. "My son is a coal miner, my brother is a coal miner, my father was a coal miner. And I can't imagine what those families are going through."

Elswick knows the uncertainty all too well. Her son got injured in a mining accident in Beckley in November 2012.

"When you get that call, it's a very scary call," Elswick said. "You don't want that call."

But for now, she's forced to wait, along with the rest of her neighborhood.

"That's what scares me the most," she said. "My son's best friends are in there, and they're all 23 or 24 years old."

Patriot Coal owns Blue Creek. The plant has only had a few safety citations from MSHA, with the most recent issued in December 2012.

There have been no fatalities at the Blue Creek preparation plant prior to Wednesday, at least since 2002, which is the oldest data available.

MSHA issued an order to close the plant right after the accident Wednesday while an investigator inspected the scene.

Blue Creek is a surface mine prep plant, where workers prepare the coal to be delivered and sold. The plant is not where coal is mined, but is located near the surface facility.