united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
E. Bast and Company Breaker Boiler Explosion
March 16, 1871
No. Killed – 4
Fatal Effects of a Boiler Explosion in Pennsylvania
From the Pottsville Miners’ Journal, March 17, 1871
The New York Times, New York, NY
March 19, 1871
About 6:30 a.m. yesterday morning, a boiler explosion occurred at the breaker of E. Bast and Company, at Ashland, the result of which was the killing of Mark Daniels, the partial demolition of a house nearby, in which were five children of a man named Connyngham, three of whom were fatally and two very seriously injured.
Mark Daniels, the engineer at the slope, had just been relieved, when he went down to the breaker engine-house to tell McConnell, the engineer, that one of his boilers was leaking. Daniels then got on top to examine the boiler, when he told McConnell to start the engine. McConnell proceeded to do so, and as he laid hold of the starting-bar the boiler exploded.
Daniels was buried in the scalding, burning debris, and it required some time for six men to rescue him from the terrible position in which he was suffering the most excruciating torture and slowly burning to death. Through the almost superhuman efforts of these men, he was rescued, but only to die a few hours later, after suffering such agonies as beggar description.
Mr. Connyngham’s children were in bed about the time of the explosion. Some of the flying missiles struck the house, partially demolishing it and piling the ruins upon the children. Three of them were so seriously injured that their recovery is despaired of, while two of them were so fortunate as to escape with but slight injury. Mr. Daniels was a young married man, having no children and was employed as one of the engineers of the slope.