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One man was killed in a demolition accident at the former Hobet site in Boone County on April 28.

JULIAN, W.Va. — A man was confirmed dead in an accident that occurred at the former Hobet Mining site near Julian, West Virginia, visible from U.S. 119.

Shaffer Road was the location of the accident, according to fire department records.

James Simpkins, 73, was killed when a silo that his company, S&S Recycling, was hired to demolish collapsed on an excavating machine he was operating.

At the scene were the Charleston and South Charleston Regionalized (structural collapse) response teams, the Danville Volunteer Fire Department, Madison VFD, Boone County Ambulance Authority, Boone County Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police and West Virginia State Mine Inspectors.

According to Danville VFD Chief Justin Chafin, it is unknown what caused the collapse and it is unknown at this time if MSHA or OSHA will investigate the accident. 

The initial call came into Boone County 911 at 5:38 p.m. Wednesday and extrication was complete by 8:15 p.m.

Boone County Emergency Management Agency/911 director Michael Mayhorn said mutual aid from Boone and Kanawha counties was crucial.

“I can’t say enough about all of the agencies who responded this evening, and their work and dedication is valued and appreciated,” he said.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at or at 304-307-2401.

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