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Reading Company
West Bear Ridge Colliery Explosion

Mahony Plane, Pennsylvania
February 18, 1895
No. Killed 5



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Six Killed by a Mine Explosion
The New York Times, New York, NY
February 19, 1895

Pottsville, Penn., Feb. 18.---By an explosion of mine gas at 10 o'clock this morning in the West Bear Ridge Colliery of the Reading Coal and Iron Company at Mahanoy Plane, six miners were killed and five were burned, four of them probably fatally.

The dead are:
  • Durkin, Thomas, of Girardville
  • Glibe, Joseph, of Crescent Hill
  • Greenback, Peter, of St. Clair
  • Kline, Peter, of Ashland
  • Myers, Anthony, of Ashland
  • Beaber, Benjamin, of Mahonoy Plane
The Injured:
  • Davis, Edward, of Girardville
  • Davis, William, of Mahanoy Plane
  • Goff, William, of Mahanoy Plane
  • Minnich, William, of Ashland
Of the dead, all but Myers were instantly killed.  Myers was taken from the mine alive, but died while being taken to the hospital.

William Davis is only slightly injured, but it is feared the other four will die from the effects of burns.

The cause of the explosion is not positively known, but it is supposed that a naked lamp ignited a large body of gas that had been let loose from a blast in the gangway.  The explosion set fire to the timbers of what is known as the "monkey airway," cutting off the escape of the five men killed in the mine.  The six men who were taken out alive were nearest the gangway, and escaped the suffocating fumes of the gas and the avalanche of coal and timber which followed the explosion.

A fierce fire broke out in the gangway, but nevertheless the work of rescuing the imprisoned men or of recovering their bodies, if dead, was at once proceeded with.  A line of hose was run into the gangway, and between 2 and 3 o'clock this afternoon the dead bodies of the five men were recovered.  The fire in the mine is still burning, and is in a place not easy of access.  The mine officials hope to be able to extinguish the flames before they get a hold on the coal, for in that case the mine would have to be flooded, and over 800 men would be thrown out of work.

The colliery has a capacity of 260,000 tons annually.



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