united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Company Holden Mine Explosion
March 2, 1907
No. Killed – 7
14 Miners Near Death
Washington Post, District of Columbia
March 3, 1907
Scranton, Pa., Mar. 2. -- Fourteen men are hovering near death in Taylor Hospital and twelve others suffered slight burns through a terrific explosion of gas that swept through a portion of the Clark vein of the Holden mine of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Company at North Taylor this afternoon.
Among the seriously injured are:
William Williams, miner, of Taylor
Thomas Williams, his son, a miner
Daniel Evans, door tender
William Beavans, runner
Andrew Ranski, laborer, of Old Forge
Frank Ranski, Andrew's brother, miner
David J. Evans, miner
John Hill, miner
Whether or not thirty other miners at work in this section escaped was in doubt up to 10 o'clock tonight, when Mine Inspector David Williams felt safe in saying they were all out of the mine and alive. This statement he made only after it was possible for searching parties to make a tour of the affected parts of the mine, and who returned with the report that they could find no men in the workings who had been reported missing. Still this news was not reassuring to hundreds who still gathered about the shaft's head, for the doubt and fears of the afternoon and evening were not removed, and they felt certain that there were yet others whose lifeless bodies would be found later.
The greatest force of the explosion was felt on the barn road that leads from the main gangway to the mule barn. This was fully a half mile from the foot of the shaft. The roadway was strewn with the debris of battered doors and brattice work, which so obstructed the air courses that for some hours it was impossible for the rescuing forces to penetrate into the dense after-damp that filled the workings.
The first news of the explosion caused a panic in Taylor, and as it spread into Hyde Park and Minooka, where lived many of the men working at the mine. There was great apprehension as to their fate. Hundreds hurried to the mine, and a special train was sent from Scranton with Assistant Superintendent Tobey, Washeries Superintendent Smith, District Superintendent Evans, Mine Inspector Williams, and the fire bosses and foremen of the Diamond, Bellvue and Dodge mines on board.
They reached the Holden Mine within a half hour and rescuing parties, headed by Mine Superintendent W. B. Owens, Inspector Williams, District Superintendent Evans, and Williams, made every effort to reach the innermost section of the mine, where thirty or more other men not then accounted for were known to have been working. They were believed to be beyond the point where they could reach a second opening and escape in safety.
But the blackdamp was overpowering, and they had to give up their effort until canvas and lumber could be brought in to rebuild the broken doors and restore the torn brattices. It was several hours before this work was done sufficiently to warrant Mine Inspector Williams and a squad of fire bosses to proceed into the workings to search them. Then came the news that all the men had probably escaped.