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Two Trapped After Collapse of Martin County, Kentucky Coal Plant Slated for Demolition


November 1, 2023 - Crews were working Wednesday to rescue two men trapped after the collapse of a more than 10-story Kentucky coal preparation plant being readied for demolition, officials said.

The collapse was reported around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Martin County Sheriff John Kirk said first responders were able to find and make contact with one of the two men, news outlets reported. Officials didn’t know the extent of their injuries.

In a social media post Wednesday morning, Gov. Andy Beshear said he had declared a state of emergency in the county − mobilizing state resources to help with the rescue.

The plant hasn’t been in use for several years and the men were salvaging material from the building when it collapsed, Kirk said. The men were on the bottom floor of the building when it collapsed, trapping them beneath

Several rescuers were inside the rubble trying to free the worker, Kirk said. The rescue could take days, Kirk said.

“This is a lot of weight. A lot of large metal structures, a lot of concrete, and very confined space last. Very tight spaces,” he said. “Any time you put a rescuer in that situation, you’re putting his life in danger.”

Where is Martin County, Kentucky

Martin County is in Eastern Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains along the Kentucky-West Virginia Border. The county had a population of 11,287, according to the 2020 Census.