Coal miner's wife and daughter react to statewide safety stand- - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Coal miner's wife and daughter react to statewide safety stand-down

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The Walls keep three phones in their Hewett home.

It's so Stacie Walls hears one ring when her husband calls from work.

"Every day," she said. "I make him call me every day."

Walls is married to a coal miner. And at any given second, here's what crossing her mind:

"What if this happens?" Walls, 29, said. "Anything could happen, the roof could collapse or the mine could blow."

Tuesday's mine fatality in Raleigh County marked West Virginia's fourth mining-related death in the last two weeks.

"Coal miners' wives share that.... unspoken bond," said Walls, who grew up a coal miner's daughter in Boone County. "We all know the dangers of what our husbands do, but we put it aside and say, 'It's ok. They'll be fine.'"

Governor Tomblin ordered a statewide stand-down Wednesday to review safety procedures in underground and surface mines.

"If it's recommended at the time that something could have been done more than what we're already doing to prevent it, we're willing to look at it," said Gov. Tomblin in a press conference Wednesday. "We need to make sure our mines are as safe as they possibly can be."

But Walls, a mother of two boys, says reform needs more than an executive order from the governor.

"The mines, the companies, and the men need to make sure that every thing is as safe as possible," said Walls, a mother of two boys.

But if she's learned anything in seven years of marriage, it's this.

"He always tells me, 'I'm coming back.' If I sit and think about it, I'd go crazy. I can't do it. I just keep occupied and wait for the phone call: 'hey I'm on my way. Do you need me to pick you anything up?'"