Courtney, PA Cincinnati Mine Explosion, Apr 1913 - 120 Known Dead


Rescuers Tag Bodies Found in Operation Near Pittsburgh---Frantic Throng Listens to Tappings.

Number of Victims May Be Greatly Increased---Fire Follows Disaster---Superintendent's Son Stumbles Over Brother.

PITTSBURGH, Pa., April 23.---There are 120 known dead and 100 are believed to be entombed tonight in the Cincinnati mine of the Pittsburgh Coal Company at Courtney, three miles from Monongahela, where an explosion of gas occurred shortly after 1 o'clock this afternoon. Faint tappings against pipes and debris in the mine are plainly heard by a frantic crowd on men, women and children outside the mine.

Seventy miners staggered over bodies and debris and into the fading sunlight shortly after 5 o'clock. Some managed to get out unassisted; others were carried out. The rescue work is in charge of the superintendent of the mine, William Carter. His son is dead in one of the headings.

As far as can be ascertained, the miners who died were not killed by the explosion, but by gas, or afterdamp. An accumulation of gas in the mine is common at this time of the year because of seasonal changes in the weather, and this is believed to have been the primary cause of the explosion.

No attempt is being made as yet to bring the bodies out of the mine. Rescue hands are being brought from every available source. The government workers are under the direction of the corps from Bruceton, near Courtney.

Special details of police surround the three entrances to the mine, called the Courtney, Finleyville and Mingo entrances. Wives and children and other relatives of the dead and entombed miners have to be pushed back to prevent them from entering the burning mine. Their cries are heard for distances around the little mining community.

Scene of Former Explosion

The scene of today's horror is about ten miles from Marianna, where five years ago 25 miners were killed in an explosion.

A special train was run from Pittsburgh to Courtney by the Pittsburgh Coal Company, bearing physicians, clergymen, undertakers and supplies of all kinds for rescue work. All rescue facilities from a radius of 50 miles were summoned and rushed to the mine.

The explosion was so powerful that windows within several hundred yards of the mine were shattered. The mine is a slope digging, and has no shaft. The explosion deranged the fan house and destroyed all ventilation facilities.


Read more articles about the explosion (below)