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Fayette County readies memorial to 1915 disaster

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Of the 165 men who walked into Layland No. 3 Mine on March 2, 1915, 112 would never see the light of day again. A massive explosion killed 111 inside the mine and another was thrown 125 feet by the explosion, killing him.

This marked the worst mining disaster in Fayette County’s history. For almost 100 years, the only marker of the disaster was the Layland Baptist Church.

That will change Saturday.

“For 91 years, nothing had been done about this,” Memorial Treasurer Howard Pettinaro said. “A young man in our community got a plaque put up down there to commemorate the disaster.

“It became a community effort after that. It will be 100 years next year. We finished it this year instead of keeping it under wraps for another year.”

At 1 p.m. Saturday, a memorial to those who lived and died at Layland will be unveiled to the public.

“It’s a 16-foot wall that’s about 7-foot high,” Pettinaro said. “It has three granite panels on it that explain what happened to the miners that were killed and the survivors.

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