united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Delaware and Hudson Canal Company Mill Creek Colliery Explosion
Mill Creek, Pennsylvania
November 2, 1879
No. Killed – 5
Five Men Instantly Killed in a Coal Mine Near Scranton
Evening Gazette, Port Jervis, New York
November 4, 1879
Scranton, November 2. -- At six o'clock this morning the mine boss in charge of Mill Creek Colliery of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, 15 miles from this city, entered the mine and found one of the pillars of coal, which are always left to support the roof in mines, giving way.
He sent for a force of men to prop up the crumbling pillar, and at 10 o'clock George Forcey, Daniel Rupp, William Kinney, Zach Thomas and D. Jenkins entered the mine.
About 11 o'clock an explosion was heard by people in the vicinity of the mine. News that an accident had occurred spread like wildfire. A large, excited crowd speedily gathered at the colliery.
When it was deemed safe, the mine boss, with two companions descended into the mine. Proceeding to number eight lift they came across the charred bodies of Thomas and Jenkins.
Further on in number nine lift they found the remains of Forcey, Kinney and Rupp.
The bodies of the latter three were fearfully mangled and partly covered by a mass of splinters, timbers and broken coal. Forcey's leg was blown off and Kinney's head smashed.
The men were all dead when found. The clothing was burned almost entirely off the bodies of Jenkins and Thomas.
The bodies were hoisted to the surface amidst weeping and lamentations of friends and relatives of the unfortunate miners.
As the firemen who first entered the mine were all killed, it cannot be definitely ascertained how the catastrophe occurred. It is thought, however, that the flame from one of the miner's lamps came in contact with some gas and caused an explosion.
No charge of carelessness can attach to the employees of the colliery, as everything was in good condition when the mine boss visited the mine this morning.