Thurmond, WV Coal Mine Explosion, Mar 1905
WEST VIRGINIA COAL MINERS OVERTAKEN BY DISASTER.
FOURTEEN FIRST PERISHED.
Heroes Who Tried to Rescue Them Become Victims.
Charleston, W. Va., March 20. -- As the result of an explosion in the Bush Run and Red Ash mines near Thurmond, 24 men now lie stark to death in the two mines. Ten of these were killed in a explosion Saturday night and the other 14 were a rescuing party who entered the mine yesterday to take from the mines the charred and blackened remains of their fellow workmen. These latter were killed by a second explosion and the after damp.
The first explosion seemed to shake the foundations of the mountains, and the angry twin flash from the two neighboring drift mouths lighted up the heavens for miles around. Soon, from the mining villages for several miles up and down the river, hundreds of people rushed to the scene of the disaster.
The first explosion was caused by a "naked" flame coming in contact with the gas. The flames leaped from the drift mouth and set fire to everything in reach that was not blown out of harm's way by the force of the explosion. The great drum by which the loaded cars are run from the drift mouth down the incline to the tipple and the empties drawn up, was blown from its moorings and down the mountain side 600 feet, while the drum-house caught fire and was totally consumed. The big fan which furnished air in the mine was so damaged that it was several hours before it could be started again.
After considerable time the great fan was repaired and the power turned on and it began drawing 100,000 cubic feet of air through the charnel house each minute. A rescue party was formed and about 20 men entered the mine in search of the dead bodies of those who had perished at the first explosion. The men explored the mines for two or three hours, putting up brattices so that pure air should follow them wherever they went. Finally some of them came out and reported that the others were too careless in going forward faster that the good air was being supplied, carrying at the same time a "naked" light.
At 3:45 another awful explosion occurred, caused by the gas coming in contact with the "naked" flame of a miner's lamp and 14 more souls were launched into eternity. This explosion was not so forcible as the former, but more awful in its effects, and was followed by a shorter, thinner tongue of flame, followed by a silence so deadly that it seemed physically painful, and darkness impenetrable.
Mine Inspector PINCKNEY, soon arrived on the ground and took charge of the rescue work. The second explosion again damaged the fan and PINCKNEY will allow no one to enter the mine until it is working properly and a draft of fresh air is running through the mine. When this is done, he will lead the rescue squad himself.
The dead, first explosion Rush Run:
ANDREW WEAR, married.
CHARLES JONES, married.
PERCY WOOD, colored.
CLARENCE ALLEN, colored.
Dead of Red Ash:
CLARENCE JACKSON, colored.
Killed by second explosion:
CROCKETT HUTCHINSON, machine boss.
THOMAS BANNISTER, fire boss.
E. W. HENSON, married.
THOMAS ALLEN, colored.
CLAY MOSELY, colored.
RANDOLPH WASHINGTON, colored.
The Fitchburg Sentinel Massachusetts 1905-03-20