united states mine rescue association Mine Disasters in the United States
Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company Tunnel Colliery Asphyxiations
April 27, 1887
No. Killed – 5
Deadly Gas in a Coal Mine
Syracuse Daily Standard, New York
April 28, 1887
Pottsville, Pa., April 27. -- A terrible accident occurred this afternoon at the Tunnel colliery at Ashland, operated by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, by which five men were killed, leaving four widows and seventeen orphans.
Owing to an anticipated "run" of the pillars, the west gangway had not been working for a couple of weeks. For the same reason only a few experienced miners were working today or the fatality would have been far greater.
Notwithstanding all possible inspection, the apprehended "run" occurred at about 1 o'clock, bringing down with the coal a volume of deadly gas, by which the five human victims, together with six mules were suffocated. The accident was not discovered until some two hours later and when the air of the fatal gangway had been sufficiently purified. When reaching the victims, they were found dead.
The names of the dead are:
Fire Boss Henry Gill, married and five children
Henry Menou, married, no children
Michael Bohonnan, married, two children
Daniel Finn, married, ten children, all of the above from Ashland
Ebenezer Frances, single, of Girardville