Tue, Jan 23, 2018 08:13 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Johnson man is killed in mine mishap
by BSN Staff report

MCDOWELL — A Johnson County man was killed and another was seriously injured Friday in a blasting mishap at a McDowell underground coal mine.

Funeral services were held Monday for newlywed Paul Edward Blair, 21, whose one-year wedding anniversary was exactly three weeks away when the mishap occurred.

The mine foreman, Robert Ratliff, 28, remained in serious condition Tuesday at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.

Reports indicate that Blair, of Lower Twin Branch, died of blunt trauma when miners set off explosives in the underground mine. Blair and Ratliff were in an adjacent section of the mine at the time of the mishap, and officials are reportedly investigating the incident to determine why the miners, employed by Cody Mining Company, were so close to the blast.

“Miscommunication” among miners was reportedly cited by state officials as a contributing factor in the fatal explosion, which was set off around 12:30 p.m. Friday and about 3,000 feet inside the mine.

Blair is survived by his wife, Angela Lynn Eppembaugh Blair; his parents, Paul Douglas and Linda Faye Blair; a brother, Jessie Douglas Blair; and a sister, Amanda Faye Jenkins, all of Hager Hill.

Jones Preston Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements. Burial followed in the family cemetery on Lower Twin Branch. See full obituary in this issue of the BSN.

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