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White Oak Fuel Company
Whipple Mine Explosion

Scarbro, West Virginia
May 1, 1907
No. Killed - 16



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Dreadful Explosion in Whipple Coal Mine
The Piqua Daily Call, Ohio
May 2, 1907

Hinton, W. Va., May 2. -- Sixty-one men are believed to have lost their lives as the result of an explosion in the Whipple mine at Scarboro, Wednesday afternoon.

Eighty-one men were working in the mine at the time of the explosion, the cause of which has not been learned.  All but 61 escaped.

Many of those who managed to escape were seriously injured.  Among those entombed is Isaac Pelter, mine boss, who remained behind, endeavoring to close the air courses and force fresh air into the chambers where the other men were caught.

The only others whose names are known are:
  • Edward Smith
  • Erastus Willey
  • Arnold Kelley
  • Charles Burgess
  • Hud Burgess
  • Raleigh Tucker
  • Edward Melton
  • G. W. Temper, all white
A telephone message just received from Scarboro says that at 7 o'clock a rescuing party was able to enter the mine and at 10 o'clock 51 bodies had been recovered.

Of those, about half were still alive but all were burned and blackened in a horrible manner.  The work of rescue was still going forward, but the percentage of the dead increased with each minute.

The fumes in the mine are steadily overcoming the crippled survivors of the first shock.  It is believed that the list will go above sixty.

The explosion occurred at a time when the full complement of miners was under the earth.  The cause of the explosion has not yet been ascertained, but fire damp is suspected.

The Whipple mine lies about four miles from the Parell mine, in which the great explosion occurred a year ago and still nearer the Steward mine, in which almost a hundred miners perished in the month of February.

An attempt was being made to connect by tunnel the Whipple and Steward shafts, and it is suspected that this work was, in a measure responsible for the explosion.

The mine is the property of the syndicate headed by Samuel Dixon, the Fayette coal king, and is considered one of the most valuable properties in the Fayette district.

The location of the mine is remote from telegraphic communication and the only telephone line reaching the place is under control of the mining company, hence it has been found impossible to secure details.

The miners were, for the most part Hungarians, with a few negroes and native whites.


Charleston, Va., May 2. -- Late reports from Whipple mine, Fayette county, where the disaster occurred yesterday are that every one of 84 miners in the shaft when explosion occurred are accounted for and the death list reaches 11.  Four are injured one of whom may die.

The dead are:
  • Robert Armstrong
  • Charles Burgess
  • Hutson Burgess
  • Ernst Kelley
  • Ira Kelley
  • James Wiley
  • Raleigh Tucker
  • Edward Smith
  • George Samper
  • William Wilson, colored
  • John Thompson
Fifty-three men, including the injured, escaped by climbing a ladder in the air shaft, a distance of 450 feet.  The cause of the explosion is not known.  The mine is supposed to be safest in the state.  The deaths apparently were caused by suffocation as the bodies were unmarked when found.



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