Your Amazon purchases made using this link will benefit the United States Mine Rescue Association


united states mine rescue association
Mine Disasters in
the United States


O'Gara Mining Company
Imperial Mine Explosion

Belle Valley, Ohio
May 17, 1913
No. Killed - 15



Rescuer Death

Henry Fairhurst, a member of the first rescue party to enter the Imperial mine following the explosion, was overcome by gas and died soon after being brought to the surface.


Successful Rescue

After an undisclosed period, rescuers found Roy Yeager about 300 feet from the scene of the explosion.  Yeager, who was alive, was unable to rise on account of a broken leg, and he probably owes his life to the broken leg.  Lying on the floor, he did not inhale the fumes of the afterdamp.  The rescue party carried him to a mine car and started toward the entrance.


From the Google News Archives:  External Link
(news links open in a separate window)


Workmen Blown in All Directions
Van Wert Daily Bulletin, Ohio
May 19, 1913

Zanesville, O., May 19. -- Fifteen men are dead as the result of an explosion of gas in the Imperial mine of the Gates Coal Company at Belle Valley, Noble County.

The dead:
  • Henry Dudley, superintendent of the mine
  • Henry Pahurst
  • Clyde Hawkins
  • Henry Brant
  • Robert Alton
  • Mike Mery
  • John Tinko
  • Mike Yacho
  • Mike Berbis
  • Clarence Brown
  • John Cosie
  • Clem Martinsky
  • Pete Delukey
  • Pete Rolah
  • Pete Futa
Superintendent Dudley and 14 men had entered the mine to lay an extension of some tracks into the mine after the regular day's work was over.  They were about a quarter miles from the entry, when there was an explosion and the workmen were blown in all directions.  Some bodies were found over 300 feet from the spot where they had been working.

The explosion was heard outside the mine and a call was made for volunteers to enter the workings.  Rescuers entered the mine and, working their way into the mine, found Roy Yeager about 300 feet from the scene of the explosion.  Yeager, who was alive, was unable to rise on account of a broken leg, and he probably owes his life to the broken leg.  Lying on the floor, he did not inhale the fumes of the afterdamp, and the party carried him to a mine car and started toward the entrance.

One of the rescuing party, Henry Fairhurst, went ahead to clear away debris from the track, and was overcome by afterdamp.  He was placed in the car with Yeager, while the others in the party crawled on their hands and knees to the entrance, pushing the car ahead of them.  Fairhurst died a short while later.  Others in the party suffered greatly from the afterdamp.  Yeager was taken to the hospital at Cambridge and will recover.

It is believed that all the men met instant death.

An investigation into the cause of the explosion was commenced today by officials of the state mining department.  The O’Gara Coal Company is composed principally of Cleveland stockholders.

The bodies of all the victims have been recovered.



See more about these products


  Rescue Contests     Pop Quizzes     Mine Disasters   •  USMRA Membership     Links Library     Training Repository     Contact