Beaverdale, PA Coal Mine Explosion, Mar 1934



Johnstown, March 2 (AP) -- Four men were killed and three were burned critically Thursday in an explosion at the No. 2 shaft of the Logan coal company at Beaverdale, four miles from Johnstown.
The dead:
ANDY FURNADEL, 45, of Lloydell.
JOHN BEARICH, 47, of Lloydell.
Two unidentified men.
The injured:
JAMES YEAGER, 30, of Beaverdale, expected to die with burns on the body and loss of sight in both eyes.
GEORGE MASLER, 32, of Beaverdale, burned in the face and eyes.
ELMER WILLIAMS, 36, of Beaverdale, assistant superintendent of the mine, critically burned about the body.
The explosion occurred at the head of an airshaft leading to the mine, situated six miles from the main entrance.
The 100 employes of the mine had been forced to leave about noon because moisture in the airshaft had frozen, cutting off the air supply.
Led by WILLIAMS, the party of seven went to the intake and dumped several cans of carbide down the airshaft.
FRANK CORLE, 18, an onlooker ran three miles through deep snow for aid. He suffered slight burns in attempting to help the injured, all of whom were brought to the Memorial Hospital in Johnstown.
CORLE said FURNADEL'S body was decapitated and hurled 150 feet.
One of the unidentified men was said by officials to be an expert on mine airshafts.
An official of the federal bureau of mines aid that if carbide was thrown down the airshaft and came in contact with water, it would form acetylene gas which was not only highly poisonous, but highly explosive also.
The state department of mines rushed an investigator to the mine Thursday. The federal bureau of mines ordered another from Pittsburgh.
Mine officials said a contractor had been engaged to thaw ice which had closed the airshaft.
They said they "understood" he used calcium carbide, which forms an explosive gas in contact with water.
The contractor, who was among the victims, was inside the 100-foot shaft, the others outside, at the time of the explosion.

Gettysburg Times Pennsylvania 1934-03-02