Parnassus, PA Valley Camp Coal Company Mine Explosion, Mar 1929
OVER 200 MEN ESCAPE, 85 MISSING AFTER KINLOCH MINE EXPLOSION.
HUNDRED MAKE WAY OUT THROUGH ABANDONED EXIT.
STUMBLE ALONG FOR SEVERAL MILES IN DARKNESS AFTER LIGHTS GO OUT -- ASSISTANT FOREMAN AND FIRE BOSS LEAD MEN TO SAFETY -- NONE INJURED SERIOUSLY -- FATE OF MANY UNKNOWN.
Parnassus, March 21. -- Less than five hours after an explosion wrecked the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company today all but 85 of the more than 300 miners in the workings at the time had been rescued.
Fighting their way through the gas-filled chambers of the mine, approximately 100 of the entombed men reached the safety of the outer air through the entrance to Valley Camp Mine No. 1.
The entrance to this mine, which connects with the Kinloch workings, is about three miles from the shaft where the full force of the explosion struck.
A short time later EDWARD JOBES, assistant pit boss, led more than 100 additional miners from the mouth of Valley Camp Mine No. 1.
None of the 200 miners who escaped was injured from gas or burns. All were able to walk without assistance.
Hospitals at New Kensington and nearby boroughs reported receiving approximately a dozen injured miners for treatment. None seriously hurt.
Miners who escaped reported having seen bodies of those killed in the blast but up to noon no bodies had been removed and no check could be made on the dead.
Rescue workers reported seeing bodies of miners along the slope of the mine about noon. No effort was made to bring them to the surface, rescuers said, because they want to push their way into the workings in the prospect of reaching the other missing men before they have suffocated.
There is a chance of rescuing alive the approximately 85 men still missing mine experts said. It was feared that the fire is still burning at the foot of the shaft.
Parnassus, March 21. -- An abandoned entrance to the Kinloch mine was credited by 100 miners, who emerged safely from the blast-wrecked chamber of the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company today, with having saved their lives.
It was through this discontinued opening that the trapped men, after stumbling through several miles beneath the earth reached safety.
EDWARD JOBES, assistant pit boss, and JAMES HOGAN, fire boss led the men to safety.
JOBES and HOGAN recounted how they aided the miners to meave the gas-filled workings in which 12 men died in an explosion a year ago.
"We kept the men where the air was good after the lights went out. We knew something had happened," HOGAN said. "I was busy as the light failed and didn't hear the rumble."
"The safety lamp I carried proved its worth today. When we hit deadly gas it flickered and burned low which indicated we had better not go in that direction."
"When a trace of explosive gas was found it flared up. I watched it carefully and several times we had to change out course."
"To go to the Kinloch entrance was out of the question. It was too far away."
"So we started for the unused entrance. I don't know how many men were in our party at first but the number grew as we went along."
"Our trip was without incident. The men knew death might come at any moment and there was tenseness in the crowd but there was no confusion. Everyone remembered his safety training. Then we caught the faint gleam that signified the entrance. Had JOBES and I been alone the strain would have been far less but we knew the responsibility of caring for the men with us was on our shoulders."
"Never did the Allegheny River stretch below us and shining in the morning sun look so beautiful as when we came out of the mine."
Rescue crews of the Valley Camp Coal Company and adjoining companies were rushed to the mine.
A mine rescue car operated by the United States Bureau of Mines was brought here from Curtsville, a few miles away, where it had been held on a siding.
Houses for two miles about the mine were recked[sic] by the explosion.
Witnesses said a shaft of white-hot flame shot about 200 feet into the air from the mine shaft. It was feared that many of the miners may have been caught in the flame and burned to death.
The force of the blast is believed to have wrecked much of the temporary and permanent bracing work in the mine and cave-ins may add to the difficulties of the rescue work.
A mine official said the explosion was caused by sparks from a conveyor belt as its steel rasps led about a galley wheel at the foot of the shaft. The spark, the official said, probably found a gas pocket and the explosion followed.
A fan house 200 yards from the main tipple was blown to bits and its framework burned by the flames which belched from the shaft.
Long lines of automobiles were waiting at the mouth of the mine to take the injured to hospitals at New Kensington and other towns. All doctors and nurses were called.
Twelve miners were killed in an explosion in the same mine February 20, 1925. Since then the mine had been examined and tested by State Bureau of Mines officials and recently the officials of the company were given a perfect bill of health and operation for the workings. United States Bureau of Mines officials recently completed presentation of a five-week course in safety work at the mine. The government men pronounced 420 men employed in the workings competent to render assistance and first-aid in case of a cave-in or explosion. Many of those men competent to render such assistance are entombed.
Parnassus, March 21. -- Following is a list of miners injured in the explosion today at the Kinloch mine:
EUGENE VAN HORNE.
W. F. HANCOCK.
Greensburg, Pa., March 21. -- Attaches of the Westmoreland county district attorney's office and county detectives left here at noon today for Parnassus to open an investigation of the explosion at the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company.
Two mine rescue teams of the Keystone Coal & Coke Company here, all available nurses from the Westmoreland County Chapter of the Red Cross and a detail of 22 state police also have been dispatched to the Kinloch mine district.
Wheeling, W. Va., March 21 -- Thirty expert mine rescue men have left here by automobile this morning for the Parnassus mine, 20 miles north of Pittsburg, where 300 men were reported entombed by an explosion.
The Daily Courier Connellsville Pennsylvania 1929-03-21
ANOTHER RESCUED, FOUR MAY BE ALIVE IN KINLOCH MINE.
LAWRENCE ALLSHOUSE CARRIED OUT TODAY BY RESCUERS, IN DAZE.
Parnassus, March 22. -- An unconfirmed report from rescue workers at 2 P.M. said that 11 more bodies had been found grouped together in a chamber of the Kinloch mine. Those in charge of the work said efforts would be made to bring the bodies to the surface as soon as possible.
Parnassus, March 22 -- The known dead list in the Kinloch mine explosion mounted to 25 at noon today when three more bodies were removed from the wrecked workings.
JAMES POOLE, JESSE ANDO and JAMES DAVIS were the three men whose bodies were removed.
Parnassus, March 22 -- LAWRENCE ALLSHOUSE, one of the missing miners in the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company, was rescued alive today.
ALLSHOUSE was found injured in the workings almost a mile from the pit entrance, where the explosion occurred.
At noon today the death list stood at 22, with approximately 15 miners still missing.
ALLSHOUSE had lain injured in the mine more than 26 hours.
As ALLSHOUSE was carried up the 300-foot slope of the mine on a stretcher his eyes were open but he seemed in a daze. He was taken to a nearby hospital where the extent of his injuries was not announced.
After bringing ALLSHOUSE out of the pit, the rescue team which found him hurried back into the workings, hopful of reaching three other miners who are believed to be alive in the section of the mine where ALLSHOUSE was found.
Parnassus, March 22 -- Officials of the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company announced today that in addition to 22 known dead in the explosion of the mine yesterday four men were believed still alive in the mine and 15 more were unaccounted for. Twenty-one of the dead have been taken from the mine. The other died at a hospital from burns.
The statement of IRA THOMAS, deputy state mine inspector, that four men may be alive revived tired workers and buoyed the hopes of relatives who were watching the rescue work. According to THOMAS the men were seen by a group of miners who escaped. The latter called to the others who were in what later was discovered to be an area free of poisonous gas, to follow but they refused. Unless the four men wandered about in the mine and stumbled into black damp atmosphere they will be found alive in an air pocket, THOMAS believes.
Frest air was being pumped to the butt from the main mine entry. The men probably have erected brattices to protect themselves from contamination of the fresh air, THOMAS said.
Although grief filled parts of the small mining community for those killed in the blast, many homes were scenes of rejoicing today for the escape of more than 220 other miners when the blast ripped through the mine.
Three investigations were under way. State Assemblyman M. A. MUSMUATTO announced he would personally conduct an investigation, seeking to bring about more stringent mine legislation to prevent the reoccurence of such tragedies. Westmoreland county officials, in whose jurisdiction the mine lies, were conducting another investigation in which attaches of the coroner's and the sheriff's office were cooperating. The third investigation was begun by State Secretary of Mines WALTER H. GLASGOW of Scottdale, who went to the scene from Harrisburg to aid in rescue work.
Company officials announced that the explosion which rocked the countryside for miles probably was caused when a conveyor chain in the tipple at the mine mouth broke and dropped tons of coal and steel to the bottom of the slope. A spark which formed in the crash at the bottom of the slope probably ignited dust.
REVISED DEATH LIST IN KINLOCH BLAST.
Parnassus, March 22 -- The known dead in the explosion at the Kinloch mine of the Valley Coal Company yesterday was checked as follows:
HARRY BRADSTREET (BRADSTOCK).
ELLSWORTH PECK (PICK).
GEORGE PRASKIN, JR.
ANDREW SICKOW (SIKORA).
LAWRENCE COLE. (Transcriber Note: Mistakenly Listed)
DAN MOHURITA (MANBRITA).
One Unidentified Man.
The Daily Courier Connellsville Pennsylvania 1929-03-22
KINLOCH MINE DEAD 46, WITH ONLY ONE MAN TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR.
TWO OF THREE REPORTED MISSING FOUND SAFE TODAY AT THEIR HOMES.
FIRE HAMPERS RESCUE WORK.
Parnassus, March 23 -- As firemen battled flames in the wrecked workings of the Kinloch mine of the Valley Camp Coal Company, the known dead list of the Thursday explosion reached 46.
Forty-five bodies have been removed from the workings. Another body, believed to be that of JOHN WORK, has been located at the foot of the mine shaft but rescue workers have been unable to extricate it from the debris.
Only one miner was unaccounted for at noon, company officials said.
Two of the three reported still missing early today were located at their homes.
After firemen subdued three fires which broke out in the mine during the night, frequent outbursts of flames in the smouldering coal were located and checked.
FINAL LISTING OF THE KILLED IN THE KINLOCK MINE EXPLOSION.
JOHN AMBROSE; MATTHEW AMBROSE; JESSE ANDO; JOSEPH BARNARDI; JOHN BEADLING; DAVID BEHANNA; ALVIN BOYD; HARRY BRADSTOCK; ALBERT BRIN; BEN COLEMAN; JAMES DAVIS; GEORGE DE LOURIENCES; JAMES DOUGHERTY; WILLIAM EASH; IKE ESKI; JAMES FLYNN; ALEXANDER GOLIEX; CHARLES E. HANLON; HARRY HERTZOG; GEORGE HUNTER; DAVE JAMISON; JAMES JOHNSON; J. F. JONES; WILLIAM KASH; STEPHEN LAZURE; PETER MALLES; JOSEPH MEYERS; DAN MOHURITA (MANBRITA); CHARLES OLIVER; WILLIAM OLIVER; J. F. OWENS; ELLSWORTH PECK; JAMES PHOLE; JAMES POOLE; GEORGE PRASKIN, JR.; ARNOLD RAFFLER; WILLIAM REYNOLDS; JOHN RILEY; BARNEY RODGERS; JOHN ROXBY; ANDREW SIKORA; LLOYD SMITH; ALBERT TAYLOR; WILBUR TAYLOR; WILLIAM TAYLOR; HERBERT TYSON; ROBERT TYSON; EDWARD WILLIAMS; JOHN WORK; ANDREW ZINE; TWO UNIDENTIFIED BODIES.
The Daily Courier Connellsville Pennsylvania 1929-03-23
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!