Kentucky in State of Emergency Following Deadly Coal Plant Collapse

( – There are many reasons why a governor or other governmental figure would declare a state of emergency. Taking that official step cuts out unnecessary red tape, releases funding, and generally makes dealing with the emergency much more efficient than it would otherwise be. Many times in America, state leaders declare a state of emergency when natural disasters strike, but that’s not always the case. Recently, in Kentucky, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear made such a declaration for another reason entirely.

Coal Plant Collapses on Halloween

On October 31, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about an 11-story coal preparation plant that collapsed, trapping two men under the rubble. The building wasn’t an active coal plant but a decommissioned business the owner was taking apart piece by piece. According to Fox News, Martin County Sheriff John Kirk said the plant hadn’t been in working order for years. The structure was being prepared for demolition, and the coal company was trying to get as much scrap out of the building as possible before it was destroyed. It was in the midst of one of the salvaging missions that the incident occurred.

The day after the plant collapsed, Beshear announced on social media that he signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency for the county. He said there were a number of teams working round the clock to rescue the two workers trapped within the building. The governor described the situation as “bad” and asked everyone to “keep praying” but to prepare for the worst. Kentucky Emergency Management listed those who were working on the rescue efforts. They included several search and rescue units, a K9 search team, and fire departments.

Updated Information

A couple of hours after Beshear prepared the community for the worst, they got the bad news. The governor announced on social media that at least one of the workers had died. He called for prayers for the man’s family and loved ones.

Fox News had reported that the Pikeville Fire Department was able to make contact with one of the workers during the rescue process, but it’s unclear whether that person was the man who perished or the other victim. Kirk said there were rescuers inside the “rubble trying to free” one of the men. Again, the timeline is unclear which victim he was referring to. He admitted the sheriff’s department simply wasn’t equipped for this kind of mission. Rescue teams anticipate it could take days to reach the workers. Kirk said it was a “slow process.”

On Friday, November 3, officials released the names of the two trapped men: Billy Ray Daniels and Alvin Nees. Daniels is the one reported to be deceased and Nees had yet to be located.

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