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Hundreds gather to remember miners killed

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — More than 250 people gathered at West Brookwood Church to remember the 13 coal miners killed in explosions at a nearby mine and to call for more inspectors and safer conditions for today’s miners.

“Coming back here just reminds me that 13 men died and it never should have happened,” Wanda Blevins of Summerfield, now a national lobbyist for federal mining safety and reform, said at the Sunday ceremony.

Her son, “Little David” Blevins of Tuscaloosa, left mining at his family’s request after his foreman father, “Big David” Blevins, died in one of the two blasts on Sept. 23, 2001.

The father was among the 12 miners who tried to save a trapped co-worker, Gaston Adams Jr., at Jim Walter Resources’ No. 5 mine. Methane gas ignited and caused the explosions. David Blevins said the yearly memorial service helps heal his wounds.

The memorial is held next to the mine entrance, where families waited out the weeks before all the bodies were recovered.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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