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The Buffalo Creek Flood was a disaster that occurred on February 26, 1972, when the Pittston Coal Company’s coal slurry impoundment dam #3, located on a hillside in Logan County, West Virginia burst four days after having been declared ‘satisfactory’ by a federal mine inspector.The resulting flood unleashed approximately 132 million gallons of black wastewater.The flow created a wave of black coal ash muck, which crested at over 30 feet high and ran down upon the residents of 16 coal-mining hamlets in Buffalo Creek Hollow.

In its legal filings, Pittston Coal referred to the accident as “an Act of God.” Dam #3, constructed of coarse mining refuse dumped into the Middle Fork of Buffalo Creek starting in 1968, failed first, following heavy rains.

The water from Dam #3 then overwhelmed Dams #2 and #1.

This Silver Bridge was a suspension bridge built in 1928 and named for the color of its aluminum paint.

The bridge connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio, over the Ohio River.

Similar disasters have played themselves out, here in the USA, over the last 65 years and, like the Deepwater Horizon disaster, there appears to be no end in sight to the death and destruction caused by these catastrophes.

Let’s take a look back at ten of the worst industrial disasters since 1945.

At the time of the explosion, 142 men were in the mine; 111 miners were killed by burns and other injuries. Lewis also blamed the then Secretary of the Interior, Julius Krug, for the men’s deaths because he felt the Department of the Interior was not adequately enforcing new and stricter mine safety rules which had been enacted only a year earlier.

Lewis called for Krug’s resignation, but President Harry Truman, who regarded the mourning strike as a sham, rejected this demand.

The sulfuric acid, nitrogen dioxide, fluorine and other poisonous gases that usually dispersed into the atmosphere were caught in the inversion and accumulated until the rain ended the weather pattern.

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