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Buffalo Creek Dam disaster in 1972...

Item # 219957

February 27, 1972

SPRINGFIELD Sunday REPUBLICAN, Massachusetts, February 27, 1972.

* Buffalo Creek disaster - Dam collapse
* Man West Virginia WV

This 40+ page newspaper has a two line, five column headline: "80 to 90 Feared Dead In W. Va. Dam Break" with subhead: "Mining Town 'Wiped Out'". Other news of the day throughout. Little margin wear, otherwise in good condition.

source: wikipedia: The Buffalo Creek Flood was an accident that occurred on February 26, 1972 when a coalslurry impoundment dam built on a hillside in Logan County, West Virginia by the Pittston Coal Company burst. The resulting flood unleashed approximately 132 million gallons (500 000 000 L) of black waste water upon the residents of 16 coal mining communities in Buffalo Creek Hollow. Out of a population of 5,000 people, 125 people were killed, 1,121 were injured, and over 4,000 were left homeless. The incident completely levelled the town of Saunders, W.V. (the current town of Saunders is not the same one that once was located in Buffalo Creek).

625 adult survivors sued the Pittston Coal Company, seeking $32,000,000 in damages, but settled in June 1974 for $13,500,000. A second suit was filed by 348 child survivors, who sought $225,000,000, but settled for $4,800,000 in June 1974. The state of West Virginia also sued the company for $100,000,000 for disaster and relief damages, but Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr. settled for just $1,000,000 three days before leaving office in 1977.

Gerald M. Stern , an attorney with the law firm of Arnold and Porter wrote a book entitled The Buffalo Creek Disaster about his experiences in representing the victims of the flood. The book includes descriptions of his experiences dealing with the political and legal environment of West Virginia, where the influence of large coal mining corporations is significant. SociologistKai T. Erikson, son of Erik Erikson, wrote a study on the effects of the disaster on the Buffalo Creek community entitled Everything In Its Path. The book later went on to win the Sorokin Award, an accolade handed out by the American Sociological Association for "outstanding contribution to the progress of sociology."

In 2005, rock group American Minor released their first single, called "Buffalo Creek", after the disaster, with a refrain that read, "Lord I ain't never felt so weak, since the day the dam broke down at Buffalo Creek".

Category: The 20th Century

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