Flood Traps Forty Miners
Breaking of a Reservoir Dooms Workmen Near Uniontown, Pa.
The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN
July 24, 1912
Uniontown, Pa., July 24 --- The Coolspring reservoir was reported to be leaking badly at 3 o'clock this afternoon there is danger of its going out entirely. If the dam gives way the water will sweep down the mountain on the towns of Lemont, Youngstown, Mount Braddock and Dunbar. It is estimated that 20,000 persons reside in the four towns and the loss of life and destruction of property is feared will be great.
Forty miners were caught in a flood at the Superba coal mines at Evans' station, three miles from this city, this afternoon. All are believed to have been drowned.
Torrents of water are entering the mine in two places. Water is rushing down the mountain and it is believed the Cool Spring reservoir, the largest in Fayette county, located in the mountain, has broken. The Pennsylvania railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad and the West Penn trolley tracks have been washed away.
Little hope is entertained for the town of Evans. The wives and children of the miners are in danger of being carried into the mine as they refuse to leave the mouth of the slope. Rescue parties have been formed, but at 2 o'clock they had been unable to reach any of them.
The business section of Dunbar, a few miles from Evan's station, is under four feet of water, a number of business buildings have already been destroyed by the rush of water down the mountain side. The debris is piled 25 feet high at a bridge of the Pennsylvania railroad and it is expected to give way at any moment.
The latest reports at 2:45 are that fourteen of the miners have been drowned and that there is little hope of rescuing the others alive. Torrential rains continue to fall and further loss of life and damage is expected.
Hundreds Left Destitute by Surging Flood Waters
Pittsburgh, Pa., July 25 --- With hundreds of people homeless and thousands suffering from lack of food and shelter, fourteen miners drowned like rats caught in the spring of a trap, and with thousands of dollars of damage wrought, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia today slowly are beginning to realize the terribleness of yesterday's cloudburst and floods.
Today telephone and telegraph wires to many sections of the two states are down, railroads and trolley lines are washed away, hundreds of acres of low lying ground in under water and rescue parties are endeavoring to recover dead bodies and defend their homes against the still rising waters.
Evans station three miles north of Uniontown was the severest sufferer so far as can be learned today.
More than fifty miners in Superba mine No. 2 were caught when the waters rose and fourteen were killed by the swirling flood which poured into the manhole in spite of the desperate efforts of the women and children to stop the streams with sticks and dirt.
Dunbar, a town of 3,000 also on the Fayette county watershed, was swept by floods, which covered the streets with six feet of water and wrecked homes and stores. Four Baltimore & Ohio bridges, the magnificent Pennsylvania railroad bridge and every trolley road in the district was demolished by the flood.
In the Redstone valley, about thirty miles from Uniontown, more than six hundred families awoke this morning on the muddy hillside under makeshift shelters of blankets, quilts, boards and straw.
There are many stories of heroic rescues and narrow escapes. With the re-establishment of communication. It is feared that there will be heavy loss of life reported.
The mining town of Smock, near a huge reservoir at the junction of the Redstone creek and the Youghiogheny river was the heaviest sufferer.
Miners are reported missing at various operations throughout the immediate territory but mine officials declare that all the men have been accounted for and that the reported loss of life is owing to the hysterical condition of the flood sufferers.
Weatherman Pennywitt and his assistants tried all night long to get in communication with the flooded areas and issued flood warnings from time to time but wrecked wires prevented authentic information.
An eighteen foot stage is expected at Pittsburgh and it is probable that McKeesport. Homestead and Brownsville will be flooded today as the waters early were creeping toward the danger mark.
The rainfall over the Monongahela rainshed will total two inches. The Turtle Creek Valley also is a heavy sufferer and the damage is enormous. Garden truck and farm crops were destroyed.
Early today it was reported that almost every wire from West Virginia was down and reports were slowly filtering in be messengers of terrific losses.
While the rainfall in Pittsburgh proper was heavy there was no unusual damage.
Death Roll Totals Seventeen
Uniontown, Pa., July 25 --- Seventeen dead, it was believed shortly afternoon today, will be the extent of the terrible ravages of the inundations following yesterday's heavy rains.
Three are dead in the Lamont mine. So far as is known this is the extent of the fatalities.
Rescuing parties in boats attempted to enter the mines, but again were driven back by the on-rush of waters today.
Telephone and telegraph communication to West Virginia points, notably Elkins, Grafton, Fairmont and points south of Morgantown was cut off today and no news had been heard from them up to 1 o'clock this afternoon.
Railroad and telegraph and telephone companies were the heaviest sufferers it developed today.