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Coal mine supplier Walker Machinery to lay off 77

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Walker Machinery Company announced Thursday that 77 employees will be laid off.

The company, which employs about 500 people and deals Caterpillar equipment, has eight facilities throughout West Virginia, including locations in Belle and Nitro.

“We did know it was coming,” said Belle Mayor Glen Chestnut. “But that was just a rumor from one of the employees.”

Chestnut hadn’t heard of any layoffs in the Belle location yet, but he said that if there were, it could be devastating to the town’s economy.

“It’d be awful,” Chestnut said. “That’s one of our biggest B&O companies, that’s what we help run our town on.”

 The reason for the mass layoffs was the deteriorating state of the coal industry…

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