(RepublicanNews.org) – A major engineering catastrophe has taken place in extreme eastern Kentucky on the state’s border with West Virginia. On October 31st, an industrial facility in Martin County that once processed large amounts of coal completely collapsed in on itself while workers were still inside.
Authorities have confirmed the death of at least one man, and reports indicate that at least two others remain trapped beneath the fallen debris. According to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, the facility itself was no longer in the energy business. Its owners had ceased operations several years ago and the plant had been sold for scrap.
At the time of its collapse, the facility’s new owners were preparing the building for demolition. Gov. Beshear noted that because of its industrial nature, the “large metal structures” and huge volume of concrete had led to “a lot of weight” stacked on top of the ground.
The “very tight” resulting spaces were making rescue efforts all the more tedious and dangerous for both victims and rescuers, he said. To make matters more difficult for those on the scene, the disaster was located in an isolated rural setting. Local authorities are “not really equipped for this type of disaster,” Beshear said.
Kentucky’s highest elected official issued an executive order and put the county in an emergency state. The declaration will free up resources and possibly make the area later eligible for federal assistance. Before the structure pancaked, it was said to stand as tall as a 10-storey building.
According to reports, crews were in the process of taking the structure’s interior apart piece by piece in preparation for its pending demolition. John Kirk, Martin County’s Sheriff, appeared to say that the collapse was not sudden or unanticipated.
The official seemed to suggest that workers had intended to bring the building down in sections at the time of its collapse, but that a portion fell in an unexpected direction. The sheriff explained, “It just didn’t fall the way they had projected it to fall and it actually closed around them.”
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