united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
A. B. Terry of Roanoke, Va. Terry-Butterskill Quarry Explosives Detonation
Union, West Virginia
May 17, 1930
No. Killed – 6
Dynamite Blast Claims 6 Lives at Rock Quarry
Charleston Gazette, West Virginia
May 18, 1930
Union, May 17. -- (AP) -- A dynamite explosion at a road construction job on the Seneca Trail today took a toll of six lives.
Two workmen and four children were killed when six boxes of explosives let go with a terrific force in a blacksmith shop at a rock-quarry operated by A. B. Terry of Roanoke, Va., sub-contractor of a road improvement project a mile and a half from here.
The victims were:
Oscar Johnson, 36, Gap Mills
Paul Shires, 28, Union
Frank Welkie, Jr., 12, son of Frank Welkie, Salt Sulphur Springs
Three children of Mrs. Della Wiseman; James, 13; Richard, 11; and Joe, 8
The blacksmith shop, a temporary shed of one story, built for the construction job, was blown to splinters and cast about the countryside. Johnson and Shires were in the building at the time and their bodies were blown to bits. The four children, who were playing nearby, were badly mangled. The Welkie boy, water boy for the road workmen, lived for half an hour before he succumbed to his injuries. The home of Mrs. Wiseman, a widow, is located near the quarry.
Two other workmen had just left the blacksmith shed and were 50 feet away when the explosion occurred. They were knocked to the ground by its force but escaped injury.
A coroner's jury returned a verdict that the victims came to their death by an explosion from an unknown cause. What caused the blast was undetermined as the only two men inside the shed met death and the building itself was demolished.
The shed was divided into two sections, the front housing the blacksmith shop with the explosive stored in the rear. Shires was believed to have been preparing the dynamite for a blast later in the day while Johnson, the blacksmith, was in the front part of the shed.