Clyde Mine Explosion

The Washington Penna, Daily Reporter
Saturday, October 14, 1905
Fate of the Six Entombed Men
Is Not Known—Smoke and
Bad Air
Special to the Reporter.
     Brownsville, Pa., Oct. 14.—The fire in the Clyde mine at Fredericktown 
is still burning furiously. Whether any of the six entombed men survive is 
not known. Rescue parties worked in short shifts throughout the night. The 
smoke is dense and the air bad. The entombed men are 1,500 feet back in 
the mine. All efforts are making to brattice off the burning portion 
and cut a way around to reach the men.

     Fredericktown, Oct. 14,--The coal mine at this place operated by 
the Clyde Coal company, is on fire and back in the mine fully half a mile 
six men are imprisoned by the flames that are raging between them and 
liberty. Rescue parties are exhausting every effort to reach the entombed men, 
but only a slight hope is held out to the friends of the imprisoned 
men that they will be found living should the rescuers succeed in reaching 
them. It is the general opinion that the six men are already dead. 
The entombed men are:
George Kelly, driver, married.
Homer Harvey, driver, married.
Richard March, miner, married.
Richard Moffy, miner, married.
Ponal Lorenzo, miner, married.
Cesto Benardini, miner, single.
     The fire started Friday afternoon at 1:30 and although the origin is 
not definitely known, it is believed to have started from a short circuited 
electric wire setting fire to a brattice cloth which is placed in the 
entries throughout the mine to change the air currents. The fire was soon 
discovered and a general alarm was at once given. At the time there were 
between 150 and 200 men in the mine but with the exception of the six 
entombed miners all were brought to the surface without serious injury.

Six Men Missing.
     When the men were mustered at the mouth of the mine it was then discovered 
that six were missing and the pit boss bethought himself of six men who were 
at work to a room in the furthermost part of the mine, fully a half mile 
from the shaft. It was too late to give them warning but hardy miners 
willingly exposed themselves in attempting to save their comrades. 
Several of them attempted to get back through the entry, but were driven 
back by the deadly gases, which had already generated and as a portion of 
the entry where the fire had originated was a seething furnace. By lying 
flat keeping his head close to the bottom of the entry one of the rescuers 
gave George Kelly the warning as he was bringing a car toward the pit 
entrance. When given the warning he stated he would bring his horse with 
him but by the time he had unhitched the animal the only means of escape 
was cut off and it is feared Kelly also met the horrible fate of his companions 
because of his affection for a faithful brute with which he had worked for 

Two Men Injured.
     As soon as it was learned that the six men were entombed steps were 
taken toward supplying them with pure air, if possible, until a rescue party 
would be enabled to reach them. The large fan above ground, used in force air 
into the mine, was reversed and used to draw the smoke out of the mine, 
as deadly gases were generating and a portion of the mine was rapidly 
becoming a veritable hell. Two men were operating the fan and looking 
after the machinery at the powerhouse and in attempting to enter the fan 
house were badly burned by an explosion. 
They were:
Robert Virgin, Millsboro, digger, badly burned about the face and abdomen, 
will die.
L.D. Wood, Millsboro, married, burned about the face and back, will recover.
     About 4 o’clock in the afternoon something went wrong with the fan and 
the two men opened the door to the fan room to adjust it, one of them carrying 
a torch. The room was filled with the smoke and sulphurous gases, which 
were being drawn out of the mine, and no sooner had the man with the torch 
entered than a terrific explosion occurred, caused by the gases being 
ignited. The two were hurled across the room by the explosion and soon 
the whole interior was a mass of flames and before the miners could 
escape they sustained severe burns. Others came to their rescue and soon 
the fire was extinguished, but the fan was wrecked.

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