Aracoma survivor sues mine owners for failing to maintain facility

By Cara Bailey | Dec 10, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Logan County miner who survived the 2006 Aracoma Coal Company mine fire that killed two of his co-workers is suing the company for failing to properly maintain the mine.

Johah Rose of Lyburn filed the suit Nov. 27 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Aracoma Coal Company, Massey Energy and Massey Coal Services Inc.

A fire started on a conveyor belt in the Aracoma Mine on Jan. 19, 2006. Miners Ellery Elvis Hatfield and Don Israel Bragg were killed when they got separated from their work crew, which included Rose.

Rose claims he suffered heavy smoke inhalation and the inhalation of fire generated toxic products of combustion, including carbon monoxide.

According to the suit, the inhalation of the smoke and other chemicals have lead to lung tissue injury and destruction; upper and lower respiratory tract injury, pulmonary irritation caused by difficulty in breathing, thermal damage and the increased risk of asthma.

In addition, Rose has been diagnosed with Chronic Post-traumatic Stress Disorders and Cognitive Disorders.

The suit says the mine owners failed in their duties to provide adequate safety measures to protect the miners.

Six other survivors filed a similar suit in Boone Circuit Court earlier in the year. The families of Bragg and Hatfield also have filed a joint wrongful death lawsuit against the companies and Massey CEO Don Blankenship.

Attorneys Tim Bailey and Scott Segal are representing Rose.

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