Frick Coke Co.
February 2, 1922
Explosion of Gas in Gates Mine Entombs 25
Men Bodies of 16 Recovered, Others Believed Dead
Martin J. Brennan, Connellsville Young Man Among
Blast Occurs at 1:30 O’clock in Ross Section,
Mile and Half From Opening; Canaries Used by
Rescuers to Test Mine and Several of the Tiny
Birds Fall Victims of the Gases.
GREAT THRONG OF RELATIVES AND OTHERS GATHERS
Twenty-five men were entombed by an explosion of
gas this morning at 1:30 o’clock in the Gates
mine of the H.C. Frick Coke Company along the
At 2:30 o’clock this afternoon the bodies of 16
had been recovered.
It was believed the others were dead. Among
the dead are Martin J.
Brennan of Connellsville and
of Gates. Brennan’s body was identified by his
of this city. Mr. Brennan was unmarried and
lived on the West-Side, Connellsville. Most of
the dead and missing are foreigners. The
explosion occurred in the Ross section of the
mine, about a mile and a half from the entrance.
The cause is said to have been blowing out of a
shot in coal, igniting mine gases. The explosion
was confined to a section of the mine.
well-known ball player, was about a mile and a
half from the scene of the explosion. First news
of it was brought to the surface by Jim. He was
hurled to the floor of the mine by the force of
the blast, but was not much hurt.
William Guy, a
machine boss, was at a lesser distance from the
affected section. He, too, was hurled violently
to the floor but escaped with bruises. Mine
was overcome by gas but soon was revived
and continued the direction of rescue work. It
is said there were only about 50 men in the mine
at the time. With the exception of those caught
in the immediate vicinity of the blast they made
their way out.
None of the bodies was mangled, indicating
that death was due to asphyxiation. The bodies
recovered were taken to the undertaking rooms of
H. S. Johnson
at Masontown on a special train over the
Monongahela railroad. A train was standing on a
siding near the mine to rush the injured to the
Brownsville Hospital should any be taken out
alive. Rescue workers were in charge of
Assistant General Superintendent
W. C. Hood
and Mine Inspector
Girod. They worked their way into the
mine by the use of canaries to test the
atmospheric conditions. A half dozen foreigners
working between the scene of the explosion and
the mine entrance managed to escape. How the gas
was ignited has not been determined and possibly
never may be. A great throng of people, among
them relatives and friends of the entombed men,
gathered about the mine. State police from the
several stations in the south end of the county
were called to keep them back from the opening.
The explosion was the first in many years in
Frick mines and was the first of consequence
since that at the
Darr mine of the Pittsburg
Coal Company December 19, 1907, in which 231 men
were killed. The last great explosion in a Frick
mine was at Mammoth, January 27, 1891, in which
109 were killed. The Hill Farm explosion, near
Mount Braddock, June 26, 1890, claimed the lives
of 31 persons out of 51 in the mine. There were
lesser explosions at Youngstown and West Leisenring at earlier dates.
Roland and Thomas
Richardson, both mine foreman, and
assistant superintendent at the plant, are
cousins of Miss
Katherine Hart of this city. Miss
Hart got into telephone communication with the
works this morning, however, and learned that
all her relatives were safe. There were not so
many men in the mines, it was said, because of
the fact that yesterday was a lay-off day.
Winsing, she was told, was due to go to work at
2 o’clock, but the explosion occurred at 1:30.
a son of Mrs. Jane
Connelly of Leisenring No. 3, is also
employed at that plant but did not happen to be
in the mine at the time of the accident. Miss
Hart was told during her conversation at 11
o’clock that five bodies had been recovered and
that there were 20 or 21 still in the mine.
DEAD AND MISSING IN MINE AT GATES
Martin J. Brennan, single, dead
Joe Hrebar, single
John Gallokovicz, married
John Campelin, single
Elary Claico, married
John Dellango, single
Andy Kopolar, married
Tony Stodyhar, married
Joe Smash, married
James Argenti, married
John Murinch, single
Albert Petralia, married
Peter Malik, married
Walient Konicka, married
Nick Rabbits, married
James Poganelli, single
Mike Setefanck, single
Mike Crickovick, single
Joe Popson, Sr., married
Steve Popson, single
Andy Roppella, married
Arist De Caroceica, married
Nick Yourchusky, married
The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 2 Feb 1922
Death List in Gates Mine Explosion 25;
Bodies of All But One Removed
That Not Recovered Located Under Slate Fall in
FALLS MENACE RESCUERS
Becomes Necessary to Halt Operations From Mine
Entrance and Work From Edenborn Opening; Only
Two Americans Among Those Killed.
The death toll in the explosion Thursday morning
in the Gates mine of the H. C. Frick Coke
Company stands at 25. All others have been
Of the dead, the bodies of 24 were recovered
and the remaining one has been located under a
fall of roof slate and coal. Sixteen bodies were
recovered Thursday. This morning at 4 o’clock
six more were brought to the surface, at 10
o’clock another and at 11 the eighth of the day.
Owing to Danger from farther falls of the
roof the rescue workers were compelled to give
up operations from the Gates entrance and enter
the mine from the Edenborn opening. The names of
only two Americans appear in the list of the
dead. They are Martin
J. Brennan of Connellsville and
Thomas Horne of Filbert. Not a person
escaped from that section of the mine in which
the explosion occurred.
Official identification of the bodies, all of
which were taken to the morgue of H. A. Johnston
at Masontown, was under way today. That of Mr.
Brennan was established by his brother
James A. Brennan,
of Connellsville Thursday afternoon.
Great care is being exercised in the work of
Coroner S. H. Baum
viewed the bodies this afternoon.
When the inquest will be held has not been
A large floral wreath, purchased by the coke
company, has been placed in each casket.
Every indication points to the men having
been asphyxiated. Several were found with
handkerchiefs in their hands as if to place them
to their mouths and noses. Indications were that
others had dipped their handkerchiefs in dinner
pails and stuffed them to their mouths to
It is believed that some of the men had
finished their work and were leaving the mine
when the explosion came.
Backfiring of a shot, which ignited gas, is
told by mine experts to have been the cause of
the disaster. The explosion occurred in Butt 19,
about two miles from the entrance to the mine.
No time was lost after the alarm had been
given in organizing rescue workers to begin the
work of removal of the men from the mine.
Samuel W. Brown, Patrick Mullen,
Frick inspector, State Mine inspector
E. E. Girod
taking charge, President
W. H. Clingerman, Clay
Lynch, General superintendent, and
V. C. Hood,
assistant general superintendent, were among
those who were early on the scene.
Rescue workers were gathered from all parts
of the coke region.
Mrs. Brown, wife of the Gates
superintendent, organized a staff of women and
began serving hot coffee and sandwiches to the
rescue workers. They did efficient work, men
about the place testify.
W. P. Schenck,
general secretary of the Fayette County Red
Cross, visited the mine and offered the services
of the Red Cross in whatever capacity it might
The bodies brought out at 4 o’clock today
were those of James
Pagnella, Joe Popson, Steve Popson, Nick
Stefanic, Artis De Coreceina and Andy Swablic.
At 10 o’clock the body of
was found and an hour later that of
The body remaining in the mine is that of
Thos recovered yesterday were
Martin J. Brennan, Thomas
Horne, Joe Hrebar, John Gatlokovicz, Andy
Kopolar, Tony Stadyhar, Joe Smash, John Marbach,
James Argenti, Albert Petriella, Wallent Konicka,
Nick Rabbits, Andy Koppella, Mike Yourchusky,
John Dallangelo and John Chubela.
The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 3 Feb 1922
Funeral of M. J. Brennan Probably Will Be
Martin J. Brennan,
Connellsville, young man killed in the
explosion Thursday morning in the Gates mine,
had been employed at that plant since last
October. Before that time he was with the
Frisbee Hardware Company of Connellsville and
previously had been employed by the H. C. Frick
Coke Company at Adelaide and Trotter. He was a
son of Jos. Brennan,
Blackstone road, West Side. His mother, Mrs.
Bridget Kennedy Brennan, died February 4, 1913.
His father has since remarried. Mr. Brennan
served 22 months in France with the 15th Cavalry
during the World War. The unfortunate young man
was 25 years old. He was born in England but had
been in this country since a small boy, the
family first locating at Trotter. He was a
member of the Immaculate Conception Roman
Catholic Church and of the Youghiogheny Council
of the Knights of Columbus. The only surviving
member of the family besides his father and
Catherine Brennan, is a brother,
James A. Brennan, who identified the
body Thursday afternoon at
Johnson’s morgue at Masontown. The
brother was accompanied by
Rev. L. D. McNanamy, assistant rector
of the Immaculate Conception Church.
Arrangements were being made by Funeral Director
J. E. Sims to bring the body to
Connellsville this afternoon. The funeral will
probably be Monday morning. Mr. Brennan would
have been ready to leave the mine within 30
minutes after the time he was killed, his
The Daily Courier, Connellsville, PA 3 Feb 1922
Articles transcribed by
Michelle. Thank you,
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