Kentucky In State Of Emergency Following Deadly Coal Plant Collapse

( – A state of emergency was declared Nov. 1 by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear following the collapse at a coal preparation plant in Martin County which killed one worker and left one trapped inside.

Around 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office received a call that an 11-story coal preparation plant had collapsed, trapping two men that had been working inside under “multiple floors of concrete and steel.”

According to Martin County Sheriff John Kirk, the plant had “been out of commission for a while.” Kirk stated that “they were salvaging what they could out of it,” as “the coal company sold it for basically scrap.”

Kirk added that for about eight months workers had been preparing the structure for demolition. He stated that officials believe that the section the workers were taking down “didn’t fall the way they had projected.” The two men were believed to have been on the bottom floor of the building before the collapse that trapped them beneath tons of rubble.

At the time he signed an executive order declaring the state of emergency, Beshear wrote on Twitter that the “order mobilizes state resources to help.” In an update, Beshear stated that the “scene is bad” but to “keep praying” and “be prepared for tough news.”

The Pikeville Fire Department was able to make contact with one of the workers,  identified as Billy Ray Daniels. However, first responders were unable to get in touch with the second worker, identified as Alvin Nees.

In a Twitter post later Nov. 1, Beshear stated that amid rescue efforts one of the workers, Daniels, had been killed in the collapse. In his post he asked people to “Please pray for the family and loved ones” of the worker who was killed.

On Nov. 2, authorities stated they still hadn’t been in contact with Nees since the collapse. Martin County Judge Executive Lon Lafferty stated the search is still a rescue operation, adding “We haven’t given up hope.”

Kirk stated the rescue process is slow “in order to try to keep everybody safe.” The rescue effort is expected to possibly take days.

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