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Buffalo Creek survivors gather for discussion on flood’s 52nd anniversary

By Dylan Vidovich, The Logan Banner

SOUTH MAN, W.Va. — Survivors of the 1972 Buffalo Creek flood gathered at the Buffalo Creek Memorial Library in South Man Monday afternoon to remember the disaster on its 52nd anniversary.

Liz Tackett, the now retired former director of the library who still volunteers much of her time there, arranges the informal gathering each year on or near the flood’s anniversary date as a way for survivors and family members to get together and share their memories. Tackett does it, she says, to make sure their stories are never forgotten.

Monday marked the 52nd anniversary of the monumental disaster which still looms heavily over the hearts and minds of residents in the Triadelphia area today. 125 people were left dead, 1,121 were injured, and over 4,000 were rendered homeless after a coal slurry impoundment dam managed by the Pittston Coal Company burst at around 8 a.m. on the fateful Saturday morning of Feb. 26, 1972.

This year’s gathering included a unique guest speaker: Charles Houck, a retired second lieutenant of the West Virginia Army National Guard. Houck was 24 years old when he was dispatched to Buffalo Creek at the time of the disaster and he would end up spending 11 days in the area.

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