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Mine Disasters in
the United States


American Coke Company
Gates Mine Explosion

German Township, Fayette County, Pennsylvania
March 25, 1901
No. Killed - 4



(From the 1901 Annual Report of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Mines  PDF Format)

On March 25, 1901, 9 a.m., an explosion occurred in the Gates shaft mine, due to a blown out shot near the face of the right parallel air course or where the right parallel air course crosses the main heading about 800 feet from the bottom of No. 1 shaft.

As a result of this explosion, Gibson Gilmore, George Pedesco, James Wilson and James Murphy lost their lives.

The operator had furnished and equipped the mine with everything necessary to operate it safely, but through lack of discipline and good management in the mine, by circulating the air around the face of the workings to such an extent as to dilute and render harmless the noxious gases, gas was allowed to accumulate in dangerous quantities, and as a result this very sad accident occurred.

(Below are statements made in the report of Frank H. Taylor, Coroner)
James Wilson, George Pedesco, James Murphy and Gibson Gilmore came to their death from burns inflicted upon their persons by an explosion of gas in the Gates mine of the American Coke Company situated in German township, Fayette County, on March 25, 1901, caused by a blown out shot fired by Mike Goble in said mine when gas was present in dangerous quantities.

We also find that said Mike Goble fired the shot that caused the explosion, without authority and contrary to the mining law.  We further find that standing gas was present in said mine in dangerous quantities in various working places, in violation of the mining laws, and that the reason that the gas was present was owing to the improper and deficient ventilation of said mine due to failure of the acting mine foreman and fire boss to keep the mine clear of standing gas and to keep workmen from entering when gas was present in dangerous quantities.



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