Kitzmiller, MD Smoke Accident In Mine, Nov 1948


Kitzmiller, Md. -- (AP) -- Five men died Thursday after smoke from a fire was blown into a mine near here by the mine's ventilating fan, authorities reported.
One of those suffocated was a miner who had gone down the shaft to warn the others of their danger.
He was ROBERT JACKSON, about 25, of Kitzmiller, who had been married less than six months.
Others killed were identified as:
HERMAN KELLER, 42, brother of Clarence.
MARTIN KELLER, 61, brother of Clarence.
CHARLES KIFER, 45, of Mr. Storm, W. Va.
George Nethken, owner of the mine, escaped.
Nethken gave this account of the tragedy:
"JACKSON, the 'outside man,' noticed that the shed housing the ventilating fan was on fire. He rushed into the blazing structure and shut off the motor, but dense clouds of smoke from the smouldering timbers of the shed continued to pour into an air vent."
JACKSON went down the shaft to warn the others.
He met Nethken, who was coming out of the mine and was unaware of the fire.
Nethken went out to get help and JACKSON continued to the end of the 1,000 foot horizontal shaft to lead the four others out.
Rescue squads were called from communities near this small western Maryland mountain town.
They apparently had walked into a pocket of smoke, were overcome, then suffocated.

Kingsport News Tennessee 1948-11-05