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Mine Disasters in
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Stonega Coke and Coal Company
Derby No. 3 Mine Explosion

Big Stone Gap, Virginia
August 6, 1934
No. Killed - 17



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Successful Rescue

After an undisclosed period following the 7 a.m. explosion, two men, Lawrence Fleener and Walter Bayless, were brought out alive and were taken to the Stonega hospital for treatment.  Artificial respiration was resorted to in vain efforts to save some of the others.


9 Known Dead in Blast
The News-Palladium, Benton Harbor, Michigan
August 6, 1934

Big Stone Gap, Va., Aug. 6 -- The known death toll from an explosion this morning in the Derby No. 3 mine of the Stonega Coke and Coal Company stood at nine at noon today.

Two men had been brought out alive and were taken to the Stonega hospital for treatment.  Several other bodies were believed to be still in the mine.  Seventy-five workers escaped after the explosion occurred at 7 o'clock this morning by use of an abandoned entry.

The known dead were:
  • Ralph Burchill, general mine foreman
  • Charlie Milan
  • Ben Jinkins
  • Alex Payne
  • Slyde Ward
  • Jessie Doyle
  • Lafayette Bondell
  • Clarence Reed
  • Charlie Reece
Rescue Two Alive

Before these bodies had been recovered, Lawrence Fleener and Walter Bayless were brought out alive and were taken to the Stonega hospital for treatment.  Artificial respiration was resorted to in vain efforts to save some of the others.  How many bodies remained in the mine and the names of the men could not be learned immediately.

Rescue Work Slow

Rescue work was slow because of the necessity of carrying in fresh air to blow out the still lingering fumes of deadly carbon monoxide.  No theory was advanced as to the cause of the explosion.


75 Men Escape
The News-Palladium, Benton Harbor, Michigan
August 6, 1934

Big Stone Gap, Va., Aug. 6 -- Ten men are unaccounted for in a small section of the Derby No. 3 mine of the Stonega Coke and Coal Company where a gas explosion occurred at about 7 o'clock this morning.  Approximately 75 men working in another section of the mine escaped through an abandoned entry.

A rescue team was immediately set to work and during the forenoon was slowly working its way into the mine.

The exact location of the ten trapped men was not known.



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