WEIRTON, W.Va. (WTRF) —

A disaster on Brown’s Island in Weirton on December 15th, 1972 still echoes 50 years later.

During construction of a coke facility for Weirton Steel, 19 workers lost their lives when the plant exploded.

It was a region-wide tragedy, with contractors from Wheeling, Wellsburg, Steubenville, Wintersville and Pittsburgh among the victims.

A book was released earlier this year profiling what the 600 workers on the island saw…and how the victims’ families mourned their loss.

Some were at the north end and viewed it from there, others were from the south end, some were on top of the battery…they described it just as a tremendous war zone, like an atomic bomb.

Mary Zwierzchowski, Co-author, “Secrets in the Mist: The History of Browns Island”

A plaque for each of the men was placed at Weirton’s steelworkers’ memorial.

She says even after 50 years, it’s still a subject that isn’t easy to talk about.