Community Mourns Death Of MinerPosted: Updated: Oct 03, 2018 05:55 PM
The miner killed in some type of explosion underground at Empire State Mines in the town of Fowler has been identified as 40 year old Brendan DeMaster of North Royalton, Ohio. The mine just opened in June.
“It's a tough time for everyone. We lost a colleague yesterday and the company, Titan Mining Corporation, would like to extend its condolences to the family and friends and colleagues of Brendan DeMasters,” said Joel Rheault, Empire State Mines general manager.
Investigators from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration are at the mine. DeMasters worked for Major Drilling, a contractor there. Major Drilling is also investigating.
“We're participating in both those investigations to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened,” said Rheault.
The federal investigators were also there in late July after another accident. In that one, an elevator abruptly stopped, injuring eight.
Mining has declined in the area over the years. But there is still a tight-knit mining community in Gouverneur and nearby towns.
“Any place you go in Gouverneur, starting late yesterday afternoon, people were talking about this, affected by it. Unfortunately, news like this always seems to travel fast,” said Ronald McDougall, Gouverneur mayor.
Few details have been released. A source told 7 News drilling and blasting were going on. Demasters was using an air tool to clean out the hole when something on the equipment exploded.
“We will come forward with what we know as it becomes available,” said Rheault.
Mine officials say the investigation into the earlier July accident has been completed. Fines for any safety violations would be the next step in that investigation.