Throop, PA Mine Explodes Near Scranton, Apr 1911
60 MEN TRAPPED WITHOUT WARNING IN SEETHING PIT.
ONE OF THE WORST MINE DISASTERS OF THE SCRANTON MINING COUNTRY.
WOMEN TEAR THEIR HAIR AS BODIES ARE REMOVED.
JOS. EVANS, IN CHARGE OF U. S. MINE RESCUE CAR, AMONG THOSE WHO PERISHED -- GOVERNMENT EXPERT ENGINEER FATALLY INJURED -- FIRE STARTED IN ENGINE HOUSE 750 FEET FROM SURFACE.
Scranton, Pa., April 7. -- One of the most serious mine disasters of this section of mining country occurred today at the little village of Throop, a short distance from this city, when the lives of sixty men and boys were snuffed out.
Among those known to have perished are JOSEPH EVANS, who was in charge of the United States mine rescue car; ISAAC DAWE, a fire boss, and WALTER KNIGHT, a foreman.
EVANS' death was the result of a defective oxygen-charged armor. CHARLES ENZIAN, the expert in general charge of the mine rescue work for the federal government, was also overcome and is said to be in a critical condition.
Women Wailed Mournfully.
Up to a late hour tonight nearly two-score of bodies had been piled at the bottom of the shaft, but it was thought advisable not to bring them to the surface until the crowd had dwindled. A temporary morgue had been erected at the opening to the mine and here were congregated hundreds of women and children, relatives of the men and boys who had been so suddenly snatched from them. There were pitiful children of tender years clinging to the skirts of their mothers, thile older male members of the family sought to soften the anguish of the distracted mothers and sisters.
None of the bodies recovered was mutilated, death doubtless having been caused by inhaling flames and gases. The rescuers are pushing into the mine and it is thought all of the bodies will be recovered within a few hours.
400 Men In Mine.
The fire started in an engine house at the opening of a slope 750 feet from the surface. There were 400 men in the mine when the fire started, about sixty of them in the workings into which the slope led. These sixty were at work in a "blind" tunnel at the end of the slope.
Escape was blocked by fire, smoke and the generated gases possibly before the men and boys realized their danger. The other men, scattered in different workings, got out by various exits.
JAMES VICKERS, a fire boss, tried to get to the tunnel where he knew many men were at work. He could go only a short distance before he was forced to turn back and it was with difficulty he dragged himself through the smoke at the point of the fire. He said no man could live five minutes in the tunnel he had tried to traverse.
The United States mine rescue car stationed at Wilkesbarre was summoned early in the afternoon and later the Delaware Lackawanna and Western railroad hospital car and the Lehigh Valley company's mine rescue force from Wilkesbarre came to the scene.
Experts Explore Pit.
The finding of three bodies led the rescuers to believe that no one was alive in the tunnel and they renewed the attack on the burning area to reduce the awful heat. When this work had proved somewhat effective, a corps of the expert rescue men, with the latest style rescue armor, pushed on into the slope and later came up on several bodies strewn along the roadway. The bodies were carried to the foot of the shaft and stacked up in piles in the narrow space, to be taken out after nightfall, so some of the horror would be hidden from distracted relatives of the victims.
The colliery is owned and operated by the Price-Pancoast Coal Company, at the head of which is JOHN R. BRYDEN, general manager of the Ontario and Western colliers in this region. It is one of the largest and most up-to-date collieries in the region.
The Atlanta Constitution Georgia 1911-04-08