MARTIN COUNTY, KY (WOWK) — Officials on Wednesday gave an update on the 11-story building collapse that killed one person in Martin County Tuesday evening.
During a press conference, Martin County Judge Executive Lon Lafferty said the call first came in around 6:30 p.m. and crews from Martin, Pike and Floyd counties responded.
The two men, both from Pike County and believed to be working for Skeens Contracting from Pikeville, were trapped under tons of concrete and steel in the building, a former coal preparation plant, at Martin Mine Prep Plant near Middlefork Wolfe Creek Road, according to Judge Executive Lafferty. Gov. Andy Beshear declared a State of Emergency following the collapse.
Gov. Beshear confirmed the death of one earlier on Wednesday, and Lafferty said the other worker is still trapped. There were more than two workers in the building when it collapsed, Lafferty said at the press conference on Wednesday.
Lafferty described the scene as “horrific” and compared it to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Jeremy Slinker, Director of Kentucky Emergency Management, compared it to a candle factory disaster where a number of workers died when a tornado leveled the building.
Slinker said KEM will continue to give first responders and authorities in Martin County whatever they need during the rescue efforts and might have to reach out to other states if the rescue effort goes beyond what they can handle. He also said communication is one of the biggest challenges because some of the areas have no cell or internet service.
To help with search efforts, the Associated Press reported that Special Operations Battalion Chief Chris Ward of the Lexington Fire Department said rescue crews are using search and cadaver dogs to look through the rubble.
Gov. Beshear (D) asked Kentuckians to join him and his wife, Britainy, “in praying for [the workers’] safety and for the brave teams working to rescue them.”
The names of those involved have not been released at this time.