Community icon crumbles to ground

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SOMERSET, Colo. -- After years of decline in the industry that helped build the town of Somerset, Colorado, an icon from a nearly historical era came crashing down.

The town's silo came down with a boom Friday morning, nearly 50 years after it was built.

Just north-east of Paonia, Somerset was built on a coal mine which closed a few years ago.

"I remember driving passed it when I was a little kid, and looking up to it and now it’s just gone a big spot out of your memory is gone, a big spot out of our history is gone," said Levi Comer, a resident of Somerset and relative of coal miners.

To conclude one coal mine's chapter for good.

"There's no more work, there's no more anything happening. It’s just destroying everything here, the environment, make a lot of people kind of really sad," said Comer.

With three mines in the North Folk Fork Valley thousand employees once worked in this area. Now since they sealed up the oxbow mine in 2013 only 300 employees remain.

"I think this whole town is going to shut down honestly and a lot of people are going to move out," said former employee Andrew Cool.

A crumbling industry, residents say is forcing people to move out of town, where the jobs are.

"It’s just really kind of creating an impact there is nothing, with this mine closing and all the other mines up here are going to be closing soon. It’s creating a big problem for everyone trying to stay up here. The big thing now is there is no work so everyone is just trying to find work out of state and move away," Comer continued.

The president of Oxbow Mining, Mike Ludlow said, its part of the process of closing of mine and the reclamation is part of his contract with the state.

"Since the coal mine is gone you have to take that out with it I guess,” Cool said who captured the video of the mine demolition.

A town with one zip code and one mine still in production. But for how long?

"It’s a dying industry really. The whole thing is pretty much gone," Cool added.

"It’s been livelihoods for lots and lots of people," reflected Comer.

That 145-foot concrete community icon that came crumbling down Friday morning sat here since 1969.



 
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