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Mine Disasters in
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Bottom Creek Coal and Coke Company
Bottom Creek Mine Explosion

Vivian, West Virginia
November 18, 1911
No. Killed - 18



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Successful Rescue

By heroic work the rescuers reached the scene of the disaster after an undisclosed period and found engineer Alexander Williams and 3 other men who were brought out alive.  All were injured.  Hoping to reach others of the entombed men the rescuers pushed the work with all haste.  One after another they found the victims and by midnight all but two had been brought out of the mine.  The dead included 4 other engineers.


Eighteen Met Death in Coal Dust Explosion
Waterloo Times-Tribune, Iowa
November 19, 1911

Vivian, W. Va., Nov. 18. -- Eighteen men were killed in a coal dust explosion which occurred today in the Bottom Creek Mine of the Bottom Creek Coal & Coke Company at this place.  More than 150 men were in the mine at the time of the explosion, but all escaped excepting eighteen of twenty-two who were in the explosion zone.  Four of these were rescued alive.  All but two of the bodies have been recovered at midnight.

Among the men killed were:
  • Engineer W. H. Henderson of Rockville, Md.
  • Engineer E. H. Harvey of Philadelphia
  • Engineer Charles Brewer, Elkhorn, W. Va.
  • Engineer Tarvin Williams, Keystone, W. Va.
The engineers were in a party of five making a semi-annual survey of the mine.  Alexander Williams, the fifth engineer, was saved.  The others killed were Negroes and foreigners.

The party of engineers were making an inspection and survey of the mine and happened to be close by when the explosion occurred.  With seventeen miners in the immediate vicinity, the engineers were hurled to the bottom of the chambers by the force of the explosion and tons of coal and rock fell upon them.  Men in the other parts of the mine hurriedly were taken to the surface and parties immediately organized to rescue the missing men.

By heroic work the rescuers reached the scene of the disaster and found Engineer Alexander Williams and 3 other men who were brought out alive.  All were injured.  Hoping to reach others of the entombed men the rescuers pushed the work with all haste.  One after another they found the victims and by midnight all but two had been brought out of the mine.

Word was sent to State District Mine Inspector Nicholson and he hurried to the mine where he took up the work of directing the rescue.

A mine rescue car has started on its way from Pineville, Kentucky, to Vivian.

The Bottom Creek Mine was considered safe as it was equipped with a steam jet system for dampening the workings.  A sixteen foot fan was used for ventilation and clay tamping utilized for shoring.  In spite of these precautions the coal dust explosion occurred.



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