[Nova Scotia Coal Mining] Westray tragedy to be marked, 25 years later: ‘Pure greed that took lives’ – by Michael MacDonald (Winnipeg Free Press – May 9, 2017)


NEW GLASGOW, N.S. – When the Westray coal mine opened in northern Nova Scotia in 1991, Glenn Martin was lucky enough to land a well-paying job underground that was supposed to last 15 years.

However, he soon learned the mine under Plymouth, N.S., was not a safe place to work. He promised himself he would quit as soon as he had earned enough money to put new siding on his home.

“That mine was a godsend to him,” said his brother, Allen. “He wanted to fix up his house. That was his main goal … But it didn’t take long for him to realize that things were not right.”

In the pre-dawn darkness on May 9, 1992, Glenn Martin was killed along with 25 other miners when a deadly combination of methane gas and coal dust ignited, sending a huge fireball through the tunnels. Homes more than a kilometre away shook as a blue-grey flash lit up the night sky.

Twenty-five years later, as local residents prepared to mark the grim anniversary, Allen Martin recalled how his brother, who loved to hunt and fish, was only two days away from his 36th birthday when he died.

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