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Mine Disasters in
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Ben Franklin Coal Company
Panama Mine Explosion

Moundsville, West Virginia
July 11, 1912
No. Killed - 8



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Eight Perish in Mine
Washington Post, District of Columbia
July 12, 1912

Moundsville, W. Va., July 11 -- A gas explosion at 9 o'clock this morning in the Panama mine of the Ben Franklin Coal Company of West Virginia, said to have been caused by an open lamp carried in by one of the victims, killed eight men and injured three, probably fatally.

The dead are:
  • Joseph Marschilla
  • Mike Redenna
  • Joseph Markeno
  • Alvy Hurley
  • Leslie Wilson
  • Andrew Chesky
  • William Chesky
  • Joseph Cannalie
The injured are:
  • William Hupp, fire boss
  • David Brooks
  • Joseph Mantiels
All of the dead except Hurly and Wilson were foreigners.

Rescue parties headed by General Foreman C. E. McCabe entered the mine and succeeded in finding the injured men.  Later the fan was started, and when the mine entries were cleared of gas another attempt was made to find the missing.  McCabe was overcome and brought to the surface, but others took his place and located the bodies of the men who had been killed.  Finally the work of rescue was halted until the mine could be cleared of gas.

Officials of the coal company late today countermanded the order for the United States Bureau of Mines rescue cars, declaring the entombed miners are dead.  They say it will be days before the mine can be cleared of gas.

The Panama shaft had been closed for several weeks until today when ten men entered the workings for the purpose of loading coal.  They had been in the mine only a short time when the village was alarmed by the sound of a loud explosion, and great volumes of smoke poured from the shaft.  The seventy other employees of the company quickly assembled, and General Foreman McCabe quickly organized a rescue party.

The Panama shaft was recently taken over by the Ben Franklin Coal Company it having been operated a number of years by another company.



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