united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
George Creel Coal and Iron Company Chatham Mine Explosion
Farmington, West Virginia
May 15, 1901
No. Killed – 10
Gas or Dust in West Virginia Mine Exploded Yesterday
The Cedar Rapids Republican, Iowa
May 16, 1901
Fairmont, W. Va., May 15. -- Six miners lost their lives, five were fatally injured and three seriously burned in an explosion at the shaft of the George Creel Coal and Iron Company at Farmington, seven miles west of this city today.
The dead are:
J. H. Everson
The injured are:
Charles Carperter, fatally
Carl Hunter, fatally
Hershel Everson, fatally
Joseph Blaney, fatally
An Italian, fatally
Jefferson Fast, badly burned
Thomas Bainbridge, burned and bruised
An Italian, burned and bruised
The mine was only recently put into operation and about 125 men were employed, only forty underground. One of the men, it is alleged, smuggled a torch into the mines, as it gives a much better light than the safety lamps prescribed by the company.
The miner fired a shot and the smoke, which was dense, caught fire from the torch, and spread to either gas or dust and the explosion resulted. Fortunately the mine did not catch fire to any great extent. The explosion vented itself through the air shaft, and almost demolished the building on the surface in which the fan is located.
The men on the headings did not know there had been an explosion, until notified. Air was soon turned in and in a short time the headings were cleared of foul gases and the work of rescuing the unfortunates commenced. It was six hours before the work was concluded. This is the most serious explosion that has ever occurred in the Fairmont coal region.