MARTIN, KY – Tragedy struck an abandoned coal plant in eastern Kentucky as an 11-story building collapsed on Tuesday night, resulting in the loss of one worker’s life and ongoing rescue efforts to locate another. The incident unfolded at the Martin Mine Prep Plant in Martin County around 6:30 p.m. ET, as reported by Kentucky Emergency Management.
The coal sorting structure crumbled, trapping two workers beneath layers of concrete and steel. Since Tuesday night, rescue operations have been in progress. While emergency responders managed to locate one of the workers and establish contact, tragically, the worker has since succumbed to the situation, as confirmed by Marion County Sheriff John Kirk. The search continues for the second missing worker, with authorities regarding it as a rescue mission.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency in Martin County to facilitate the mobilization of state resources, recognizing the gravity of the situation. He expressed, “Kentucky, keep praying — but the scene is bad, and we should be prepared for tough news out of Martin County.”
Numerous agencies have converged on the site to support the rescue endeavors, including the National Guard’s Special Tactics Squadron K-9 search dog unit. The two workers were engaged in the demolition of the building at the disused mine site located on Wolf Creek, as revealed by Martin County Judge/Executive Lon Lafferty. In response to the emergency, Lafferty declared a local state of emergency to access additional rescue resources.
State Sen. Phillip Wheeler, representing the district that encompasses Martin County, expressed deep sadness over the tragic collapse, emphasizing the unforeseen risks associated with any job. He pledged assistance to those affected by the incident and their families, as well as to the local government.