MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. — At least one person is dead after a coal preparation plant collapsed in eastern Kentucky.
Rescue efforts are still underway to save another person believed to be trapped in the debris.
The collapse happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday in Martin County near Middlefork Wolfe Creek Road. That’s on the West Virginia border.
Officials say Martin Mine Prep Plant was an 11-story structure that hadn’t been used in years and was being prepared for demolition. It’s adjacent to a mine shaft.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced just after 10 a.m. via X, formerly known as Twitter, that one of the two people trapped in the building died. A death investigation by Kentucky State Police is being conducted on the one man who died.
Martin County Sheriff John Kirk said the two trapped were men and were both on the bottom floor when the collapse occurred.
Kirk said that the rescue effort could take several days.
Beshear also declared a state of emergency following the collapse, “The order mobilizes state resources to help. Kentucky, please join Britainy and me in praying for their safety and for the brave teams working to rescue them.”
He said they will share more information as it becomes available.
“Kentucky, keep praying – but the scene is bad and we should be prepared for tough news out of Martin County,” he said via X.
Anchorage Middletown Fire and EMS and Louisville Fire and Rescue sent Special Operations Crews to help with the emergency response.
Twenty-four skilled rescuers from both departments are currently on the scene working alongside several others in the effort.
Captain Donovan Sims with Louisville Fire gave an update at 11 a.m. saying that their staff assembled at midnight and got their crews on the road at 2:30 a.m.
Sims said that a collapse rescue like this involves slow and meticulous movements with the safety of emergency workers being priority one so they can continue their work.
He said that they are trying to establish communication with their team there at the site but have had trouble so far because of signal in the mountainous terrain.
“Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of those who may be trapped inside the building,” said a representative with the fire departments earlier. “We request that you keep them in your thoughts during this time, as well as our responders who are working tirelessly to bring about a safe resolution.”
Source : WLKY