united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Boomer Coal and Coke Company Boomer No. 2 Mine Explosion
Boomer, West Virginia
November 30, 1915
No. Killed - 23
Death Toll is Twenty-Three in Boomer Mine Explosion
Raleigh Herald, Beckley, West Virginia
December 3, 1915
Montgomery, W. Va., -- Nov. 30. -- Fayette County was visited Tuesday by another fatal mine explosion, which occurred in mine No. 2 of the Boomer Coal and Coke Company, of Boomer, located on the north side of the Kanawha River a short distance from Montgomery. Some 300 men were in the mine at the time of the disaster, which occurred shortly before noon.
The force of the explosion did not extend throughout the mine and consequently all the men escaped death except 23, according to the latest reports. It may be possible that the list, when the entire mine has been thoroughly explored, may be increased.
The cause of the disaster appears to be a mystery as the mine was inspected and reported upon by Deputy Mine Inspectors Cobb and Calderwood, November 16th and 17th, and passed as in good condition. However, the general impression is that a pocket of gas was ignited by an open lamp thus causing the explosion.
There were three separate explosions, two of which were not so disastrous. The first shock occurred at 10 o'clock, the second at 10:30 and the third and last at 11. Immediately following the news of the disaster, men rushed from all parts of the section to the scene to offer such assistance as could be rendered. The mines throughout the community were closed Wednesday and employer and employee repaired to Boomer.
The company officials, following a selfish and unfair custom on similar occasions, refused to give out information to the public but repeatedly denied that there was a loss of life for at least 24 hours after the occurrence, in fact until it became generally known from other sources.
The Boomer Coal and Coke Company operate four mines at that point, all of which are drift openings.
The identified dead whose bodies have been recovered to date are:
W. M. Kinney
A. B. Howard
Dominick Vitrella, age 16
Frank J. Aboesky
This is the third fatal mine explosion in Fayette County this year, totaling a death list of 151 men.
The mine disasters in Fayette and Raleigh Counties for the past fifteen years with the number of fatalities of each are given below:
By nothing the above table, it will be seen that more than one-half thousand able-bodied men have been taken from our midst through the demon of explosions. How long will this continue? Will a cure ever be discovered and properly applied to protect the lives of these men who make their living through this industry?