Wilkes-Barre, PA Deadly Mine Explosion, Dec 1947


Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Dec. 11 (UP) -- Five men were killed and two others injured seriously Thursday when two explosions ripped through a tunnel of the Franklin mine of the Lehigh Coal Co. 1000 feet underground.
An eighth man working in the anthracite vein 2000 feet from the mine entrance was missing. Rescue squads searched for him through splintered timber, coal dirt and twisted rails.
Dead from the one-two blast, apparently caused by a gas pocket, were STEPHEN SILLUP, 47, Ashley; FRANK CHUDLIO, 55, Scranton; IGNATZ SKZYNECKI, 57, WIlkes-Barre township; ROGER JONES, 41, Kingston; and CASPER PULAK, 24, Wilkes-Barre. PULAK died in Wilkes-Barre General hospital several hours after the explosions.
The injured, who suffered severe burns of the entire body, were JOHN GASPER, 25, and EDMUND OLJESKI, 42, both of Mountain Top.
The blasts, apparently caused by a gas pocket, occurred shortly before noon at the foot of the No. 9 slope of the Ross vein. JOHN GOLA, 53, a miner working in another vein 500 feet away, said the concussion knocked some of his fellow workers off their feet.
GOLA said the explosion knocked out mine pumps and that when he joined rescue workers they were forced to wade through knee deep water.
The explosion touched off an alarm which brought rescue squads hurrying to the scene from near-by collieries in this heart of the nation's anthracite industry.

Salt Lake Tribune Salt Lake City Utah 1947-12-12