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Mine Disasters in
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Great Valley Anthracite Coal Company
Great Valley Mine Explosion

McCoy, Virginia
April 18, 1946
No. Killed - 12



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Successful Rescue

A rescue squad from Radford donned gas masks and made its way to the site shortly after the explosion.  Eleven were found dead of burns.  The twelfth miner, Paul Price, was brought to the surface but died without regaining consciousness at a hospital here.


Virginia Blast Kills 12 Miners
Charleston Gazette, West Virginia
April 19, 1946

Radford, Va., April 18. -- (AP) -- Twelve miners operating at a low level in one of the state's few anthracite coal diggings died today in a blast that caught them 5,000 feet from the hill slope entrance.

The shattering force blew a train of 14 mine cars more than half a mile away in the mine 150 feet up an inclined track.  Mine Superintendent Cloyd Martin who was riding the cars, was knocked from the train.

Ironically, Virginia's worst mine explosion in years came at a time when all but a fraction of the 18,000 Virginia miners were "laying off" during the UMW-operator contract negotiations.

The state's anthracite or semi-anthracite as it is known to the miners, comprises only about 200,000 tones of the 18 million ton-total of bituminous and anthracite produced annually.  It is not as hard as the Pennsylvania variety.

The Great Valley Anthracite Corporation's mine at nearby McCoy had only 58 miners at work when the blast -- ostensibly from gas -- occurred.  The 12 victims were at the lowest level of the sloping tunnel which runs under New River.

Other workers some distance removed from the explosion point escaped with minor burns or ill effects from the fumes.

A rescue squad from Radford donned gas masks and made its way to the site shortly after the explosion.

Eleven were found dead of burns.  The twelfth miner, Paul Price, was brought to the surface but died without regaining consciousness at a hospital here.

Rescue workers from West Virginia assisted the Virginia squad in bringing out the others, all of whom could be recognized.

All of the dead were residents of McCoy, a small community whose main source of livelihood is from the mine.

They were:
  • Paul Price
  • Herman Sifford
  • Cecil Hancock
  • J. P. Price
  • Frank Price
  • C. R. Johnson
  • Ed Ritter
  • Frank Deweese
  • John Duncan
  • Dave Graham
  • J. L. Sarver
  • Hoge Sifford



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