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Mine Disasters in
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Lackawanna Coal and Coke Company
Lackawanna No. 4 Mine Explosion

Wehrum, Pennsylvania
June 23, 1909
No. Killed - 21



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Successful Rescue

Twelve miners were unconscious when rescued on the 23rd but were revived through the use of oxygen.  They were placed in the temporary hospital, a machine shop, and at 3 p.m. were sent to Spangler on a special train provided by Trainmaster Henry Taylor, of Cresson.


Seventeen Die in Mine at Wehrum
Indiana Evening Gazette, Pennsylvania
June 24, 1909

Wehrum, Pa., June 24. -- With the seventeen dead and a score of suffering removed from the Lackawanna's No. 4 mine by 6 o'clock last evening, work of caring for the survivors was undertaken by many friends, while Supt. W. N. Johnson, of this place, Supt. Charles Hower, of Vintondale, and other mining experts devoted the next few hours to an examination of the mine in order to ascertain the true cause of the disaster.

The casualty list as revised is as follows:
  • Joe Merriott
  • Mike Litton
  • Alex Shafteck
  • Charles Georda
  • Lovey Louis
  • Ernest Basocchi
  • Dominic Litton
  • Tony Bastest
  • Charles Lovey
  • Tony Totena
  • Charles Foldy
  • A. D. Raymer
  • George Kowash
  • Simon Rominiski
  • Steve Base
  • Kosti Sevick
  • George Levin
The injured:
  • P. F. Burns
  • William Burns
  • C. E. Huey
  • Christopher Frarier
  • Sam Koncha
  • Louis Koncha
  • Frank Delegram
  • Tony Martin
  • Fred Thomas
  • Nick Spelli
  • Tom Batest
  • Joe Orwat
Word from Spangler at 2 p.m. was that all the injured had a fair chance of recovering.  These persons were unconscious when rescued yesterday but were revived through the use of oxygen.  They were placed in the temporary hospital, a machine shop, and at 3 p.m. yesterday were sent to Spangler on a special train provided by Trainmaster Henry Taylor, of Cresson.

Of the injured those being treated here are:
  • John Tobin
  • John Kessler
  • Lee Johnson, son of Supt. W. N. Johnson
They are under the care of Dr. Yearick, the company physician.  He was assisted the day of the explosion by Drs. Comerer, of Vintondale; Barr and Strickler, of Nanty Glo, and Grubb, of Armagh.

Coroner James S. Hammers, of Indiana, arrived here late yesterday afternoon and empanelled a jury.  The jurors viewed the bodies of the victims in the improvised morgue, which happened to be one of the company's stables.  The corpses were laid on beds of straw there and Undertaker J. H. Crumbine, of Vintondale, then prepared them for burial.  Later the bodies were removed to the late homes of the victims and were placed in coffins brought overland from Johnstown.  One wagon was used in making all the trips.  Members of the bereaved families and the friends of the victims, who were all of the better class of workmen, are making the funeral arrangements.  No time has been set for the services at the numerous grief-stricken homes.

Mine Inspectors Williams, Louther and Blower inspected No. 4 mine last night.  Their testimony will be of great importance when given before the inquest, the date of which Coroner James S. Hammers will announce later.  Other witnesses at this hearing will be the survivors, who are now in the Miner's Hospital at Spangler or at their homes here.

Telegrams inquiring for details of the disaster were received from many distant states and the Indiana, Johnstown and Pittsburg daily newspapers had staff correspondents on the ground.  A long distance call was even received from a paper in Toronto, Canada.



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