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Sycamore Coal Company
Sycamore No. 1 Mine Asphyxiations

Cinderella, West Virginia
June 30, 1914
No. Killed 5



From the Sycamore Mine No. 1 Accident Investigation Report:  

A fire occurred Tuesday, June 30, 1914, about midnight, in the wooden fan house (on surface) at Mine No. 1 (Coalburg or upper seam) of the Sycamore Coal Co., at Cinderella, Mingo County, West Virginia.  This fire was rapidly communicated to the wooden air chute, leading from the fan house to the pit mouth of the airway, thence to the timbers and coal in the mine.

The gases resulting from this fire suffocated the 5 night men, who were the only persons in the mine at the time, and their bodies were not recovered until 14 hours later.


Five Men Imprisoned by Fire in Coal Mine
Oshkosh Daily, Northwestern Wisconsin
July 1, 1914

Williamson, W. Va., July 1. -- Rescuers worked with feverish energy today digging a shaft into the working of mine No. 1 of the Sycamore Coal Company, near here, in the hope of reaching five men who were cut off when fire broke out last midnight.

The throng surrounding the pit realized soon after dawn that the hope was forlorn, but the men under the direction of a mine inspector and their bosses continued to dig.

Others forced their way into the gas-filled galleries and endeavored to choke the flames with sand, crews being relieved every hour but they made little progress.  Dense volumes of smoke poured from the openings, and it was feared the fire was spreading rapidly.

The fire broke out in the fan house and that structure was destroyed.  Alarmed by the failure of the air, twenty-five men made their way to the surface, but five were caught in the entries far from the openings.

The nearest rescue crew of the United States Bureau of Mines was at Roanoke, Va., and was expected to reach here during the day.

The entombed miners:
  • George Seibolt
  • James Collins
  • Benjamin James
  • Henry Lyons
  • Marion Lyons
They are believed, by deputy mine Inspector Edward Lambert, to be in a part of the mine not yet touched by the fire.  He said they probably had been cut off by the flames and had taken refuge in a room about 1,000 feet from the mouth.  If they could live during the day there was some hope of saving them, experienced miners declared.

Lines of hose were run into the main entry and water was kept playing on the flames, while seventy-five miners were detailed for work in the excavation.  One hundred men were usually employed in the mine at night but many of them did not report last night.



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