MAN — West Virginia’s 1972 Buffalo Creek Disaster is being remembered in a mural and a documentary.
Artist Kevin Ledo, of Montreal, began work on the mural Tuesday. His canvas is the outside brick wall of one of the few buildings in the Logan County community of Man still standing from before the flood that killed 125 people, injured 1,100 and left 4,000 homeless.
The flood occurred when a Pittston Coal earthen dam along Buffalo Creek collapsed after heavy rain, sending 132 million gallons of coal waste into the community.
The mural depicts the ruins from the floodwaters and a mother cradling a baby.
“I just wanted this to show the destruction that happened on that day, but to also show the hope that was there,” Ledo said.
The mural is being filmed for the documentary that tells the story of Buffalo Creek survivor Kerry Albright.
Dubbed the “miracle baby,” Albright was 9 months old when his mother threw him to higher ground as the floodwaters roared down their hollow. His mother and brother died in the disaster.
“Maybe this mural will be the start of something, that it’s about survival and living, and not so much about death and destruction,” Albright said. “Maybe this beautiful piece of art will turn Buffalo Creek into ‘Mural Creek,’ and more artists and survivors will want to add to what we have done here.”
The mural on the V&S hair salon is expected to be completed by this weekend. Filming on the documentary is expected to wrap up next month.
— The Associated Press