Ninety-nine men entered the cold, dark tunnels of the Consolidation Coal Company’s No.9 Mine in Farmington, W.Va., on November 20, 1968—knowing full well the danger of going underground. What they did not know was that the safety alarm on one of the Mods Run fans was disabled.

When a ventilation fan failed that morning, the alarm did not sound. The lack of fresh air allowed methane gas to build up in the tunnels. A few moments before 5:30 a.m., the No.9 blew up. Some men died where they stood. Others lived but suffocated in the toxic fumes that filled the mine. Only 21 men escaped from the mountain.

No.9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster explains how such a thing could happen—how the coal company and federal and state officials failed to protect the 78 men who died in the mountain. Based on public records and interviews with those who worked in the mine, Bonnie E. Stewart, former West Virginia University professor of journalism, describes the conditions underground before and after the disaster and the legal struggles of the miners’ widows to gain justice and promote coal mine safety legislation.


Wednesday, Oct. 19
Knights of Columbus 1529 Mary Lou Retton Drive
Fairmont, W.Va.
7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 20
Arts Monongahela
210 High Street Morgantown, WV
7 p.m. with WVU law professors Patrick McGinley and Suzanne Weise

Saturday, Oct. 22
Charleston Civic Center, Room WV 105
Charleston, W.Va.
10 a.m.

With the publication of No.9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster, the public is invited to join Stewart and West Virginia University Press at receptions commemorating the victims, survivors, and investigation of this disaster. Stewart will discuss her findings, read excerpts from the book and sign copies.

At the Morgantown event, the author is joined by WVU law professors Patrick McGinley and Suzanne Weise for a wide-ranging discussion of mine safety and history of coal mine disasters in the U.S that will include readings from No.9, Davitt McAteer’s book Monongah, and sections of the Governor’s Independent Investigation Panel Report on the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster.

Bonnie E. Stewart is an investigative reporter covering the environment for EarthFix at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Before moving to Portland, she taught journalism at WVU.

“Riveting. Chilling. Revealing.” – Bob Dubill, Former Executive Director, USA TODAY

“A remarkable book.” – Ken Hechler, Former Secretary of State, West Virginia

“A timely reminder that all mine explosions are preventable.” – Cecil E. Roberts, International President, UMWA

To learn more about this book or arrange an interview or publicity with Bonnie E. Stewart, please email Abby Freeland at or phone 304 293 8400×206.

No.9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster by Bonnie E. Stewart can be purchased at Available for pre-order now. HC/J: 978-1-933202-78-5 � 38 images �$27.99


CONTACT: Abby Freeland, Marketing Manager, WVU Press

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