Monongahela Mine Explosion


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The Washington Penna, Reporter
Friday Evening, December 6, 1907

BETWEEN 300 AND 400 MEN MEET DEATH IN AWFUL MINE EXPLOSION Mine No. 6, Fairmont, (W.Va.) Coal Company the Scene of a Terrible Disaster This Morning—Many Hundred Miners Were at Work—Mine Is on Fire. FOUL AIR DRIVES BACK THE BANDS OF RESCUERS
(UNITED PRESS DISPATCH.) Fairmont, W.Va., Dec.6,—At 1 o’clock this afternoon the officials of the Fairmont Coal company revised the figures of the number of men at work. In the mine making it between 300 and 400, instead of 700. They do not believe that any have escaped death or injury of a serious nature. At this time eight bodies had been taken out but the mine is now on fire and driving the rescuers back. The cause of the fire or its extent is unknown. Fairmont, W.Va., Dec. 6.—A terrific explosion occurred this morning in mine No.6 of the Fairmont Coal company at Monongahela, six miles from here. The shock was felt six miles away. It is reported that between 400 and 500 men are killed. It is known that 700 men were in the mine at the time of the explosion. Three dead bodies have been taken out. General Manager Malone says it is the worst accident in the history of coal mining. The cause is unknown. Foul air following the explosion prevents the rescuers from going in but the fans were started at noon and late this afternoon it is expected to have some idea of the number of dead. Over 100 men are known to have escaped. The Washington Penna, Reporter Saturday Evening, December 7, 1907
OFFICIALS ADMIT 500 WERE KILLED IN MINE Over 100 Bodies Have Been Located In Fairmont Company’s Monongah Workings. RESCUES HARD AT WORK
United Press Dispatch. Fairmont, W.Va., Dec. 7,—Mine officials today gave out a statement to the effect that checks to 458 miners were given out yesterday morning; and to this number should be added at least 100 day laborers. This would make the total death list 558. The officials say the death list will not exceeded 500. Up to 1 o’clock but 116 bodies had been located. The rescuers expect to get to the extreme limit of the mine by night. They are now 1,7000 feet through the main headings. Indications today are that it will be days before the relief or recovery is completed. Fairmont, W.Va. Dec 7,—At 12 o’clock today 125 bodies had been removed from the mines of the Fairmont Coal company. The rescuers report many others in sight, which they expect to reach shortly. In No. 8 mine they are just getting fairly started, as the poisonous gas there is worse than in No. 6. Morgantown, W.Va. Dec. 7,—I.C. White, state geologist, stated today that while the facts in the case at Monongah were unknown, is most likely that the disaster was due to the explosion of gas possibly combined with dust. “Gas accumulates in all mines,” said White, “and I would think the explosion came from this. The company is large and did everything possible to make the mine safe.”
May Never Reach Some Bodies
Fairmont, W.Va. Dec. 7,—It was stated today by an official of the company that it may be weeks before all the bodies are recovered. Some may never be reached as posts of the mines no doubt have caved in. As there are a large number of foreigners employed in the mines, the total list of the dead may never be known. The number is now listed at 425. Deputy Mine Inspector R.S. Larru, of District No. 1, of West Virginia, arrived at the mines shortly after the disaster. He went part way in No. 6, but was overcome by fire damp and was compelled to return to the entrance. In his opinion, the explosion was caused from mine dust, which had accumulated, becoming ignited. Officials of the company do not give credence to the theory of dust being in the mine from the fact that it was examined by one of the inspectors a few days ago. Mine No. 8, where the explosion first occurred, was one of the best-equipped mines in the country. City of Fairmont Shaken. The city of Fairmont was shaken and there was not a resident in the town, who did not feel the concussion. The trolley pole on a streetcar standing quite a distance from the mine was broken squarely in two by the force and windows in all the housed in the neighborhood were shattered. The disaster is said to be one of the worst every occurring in the mining regions in America. Fairmont is thronged with newspapermen from all the larger cities in the country. Hundreds of people visited the scene of the disaster today and strangers will be thronging the city for many days.
300 Coffins Ordered
The company officials have ordered 300 coffins. The bodies already removed are so terribly torn and mangled that little hope is entertained that any of those remaining in the mines will be taken out alive. The Washington Penna, Reporter Monday Evening, December 9, 1907
FIRE FOLLOWS FIRE IN THE ILL FATED MONONGAH MINES Work of Recovering Bodies From West Virginia Workings Seriously Hampered—Will Require a Week to Secure All. GUARDS AROUND TOWN; SALOONS ARE CLOSED
United Press Dispatch. Monongah, W.Va., Dec. 9.—The fire which broke out in mine No. 6 yesterday, stopping the rescuers, was put out this morning at 1:30, and the rescuers went back into the mine. At 2:15, however, another fire broke out beyond the third entry, accompanied by an explosion, which did no additional damage, but the fire once more drove the workers out. By 9 o’clock this morning eight more bodies had been taken out, bringing the total number up to 51. If no more fires occur rescuers expect to recover at least 100 bodies today. There is no more room in the morgue. The bodies are being prepared at the mouth of the mine for burial. Guards have been places about Monongah and the town is practically under martial law. Good order prevails. Appeals for help are being promptly met. The task of taking out bodies from mines Nos. 6 and 8 will not be completed before the end of the week. Sixty-six bodies had been taken out of the main heading of No. 6 at 11 o’clock today. It is still impossible to reach many in the rooms leading off from the way headings owing to the afterdamp, which still continues there. The situation, so far as working conditions were concerned, is improved today, rescuing parties being able to proceed with comparative safety except when opening a new entry, which lets out a volume of foul gas. Today has been a day of funerals here, about a dozen dead buried, while others are being shipped elsewhere. The saloons are closed and will remain so until the excitement subsides. The rescue work today is being conducted largely by mine experts from the 67 mines of the Fairmont Coal company which were closed down yesterday. Many of the inspectors, fire bosses, and pit bosses of the local mines are at work, but all are Americans, and with the present force it is believed the work will be more speedily completed. The farther into the mines the workers proceeded the greater the destruction is found to be. Many side entries and rooms are completely blocked from falls of slate. So urgent has become the necessity for the rescue of the bodies that many more men have been detailed to the different shifts. These are in charge of General Manager Malone and Superintendent Ruckman. Barracks have been erected for the accommodation of the brave fellows who are endangering their lives by entering the mines. As soon as they emerge from the death pits they are immediately packed off to their cots, there to await another call of duty. Today Mariet Bagneals and Anebra Shaw turned up among the living. They had not gone into the mine on Friday. Patrick McDonald, who has heretofore been counted as dead, was today found in the Miner’s hospital at this place. McDonald saw the runaway cars, which were wrecked in No. 6 mine descending the tipple and rushed forward to throw a switch near the pit entrance to throw the cars to the side. He was too late, however, and while standing there, the explosion occurred. He was hurled down the embankment about 200 feet. Herford Gray, cashier of the First National bank, of Monongah, today reported to the officials that he had met Ross Maruke, another miner supposed to have been in the mine. The Washington Penna, Reporter Tuesday Evening, December 10, 1907
101 BODIES SECURED IN MONONGAH MINES Thirty-One Were Taken Out of Workings Since Last Midnight. RESCUE WORK GOES ON
United Press Dispatch. FAIRMONT, W.Va., Dec. 10.—Up to 9 o’clock this morning 101 bodies had been removed from the Monongah mines, 21 having been taken out since midnight. Relief measures are going on rapidly. At 11:30, 113 bodies had been taken from the mine by rescuers. The bodies of those taken out since daylight are in good condition. Many identif- ications were made. The company insists that the dead will not exceed 362. It is generally believed that this figure is entirely too low. The work of exploring the mines has been good today on account of the air in both mines being good. Both mines will probably be explored by tonight. An official statement given out by the company is to the effect that only 200 men were in the mines at the time of the explosion. This is discredited by those on the outside who are in touch with the affairs of the miners. These say that 400 miners had been checked while many were employed in the workings who were not given checks. Great excitement was occasioned this afternoon by a rumor current that another explosion had taken place in the Monongah workings and that the rescuing party had met the same fate as had those for whose bodies they were exploring the recesses of the mine. There is no truth in this. The fifth day following the disaster was but a repetition of the first three. Hundreds of women exhausted from their long vigil at the mine and from their great sorrow press as near as permitted to the mine mouth. Hot coffee is served them by the company as the women refuse to leave the scene of the disaster. About a dozen funerals took place today and all were marked by scenes of the most acute sorrow and suffering. One especially pathetic occurrence was that at Mine No. 6. A foreign woman holding a small bunch of carnations, tied with a white ribbon stood all afternoon waiting for her husband’s body to be brought to the surface. When it was finally carried out the corpse was in such condition that immediate burial was necessary. The heartbroken wife followed the body to the temporary morgue, thence to the cemetery, all taking place within an hour after the mine had given up its victim. Another sad case is that of a young foreigner from near Riverdale. He morns a brother and 13 other relatives in the Monongah mines. He has no relative left in this country. The young man asked the officials if he could stay at the mine and look after the remains of his loved ones. This was granted and upon the man’s expressing fear that his position at Riverdale would be lost he was given the assurance that such would not be the case. WAYNESBURG, Dec. 10.—Several Greene countians are known to be among the victims in the Monongah, West Virginia, mine horror. They are Alonzo Moore, and a relative, L.L. Moore, John and Alonzo Grim and Leslie Spragg. The Washington Penna, Reporter Thursday Evening, December 13, 1907
265 BODIES HAVE BEEN RECOVERED That Number Had Been Taken Out of the Monongah Mines at 11 a.m. Today. DEATH LIST OVER 400
United Press Dispatch. FAIRMONT, W. Va., Dec, 12.—At 11 o’clock 265 bodies had been taken out of the Monongah mines. It is estimated that 145 bodies are yet to be found. Many gruesome finds were made today of dismembered bodies. Indications are that the death list will exceed 400. The company claims the list will not exceed 365. Up to 9:30 o’clock this morning 283 bodies had been removed from the Monongah mine. Over four hundred bodies, it is expected, will be recovered by Saturday night, when it is hoped all the victims will have been found. Five headings remain to be explored. The relief funds are reported as not being up to the mark they should be. Approximately $60,000 are reported but it will be necessary to have three or four times that amount if adequate relief is afforded. The Washington Penna, Reporter Friday Evening, December 13, 1907 United Press Dispatch. Fairmont, W.Va. Dec. 13.—At noon today the number of bodies recovered from the mines was 322. Twenty funerals were held this morning. Three hundred and twenty bodies were removed from the Monongah mines up to 9 o’clock today. Officials say they believe the number of dead will be about 18 more, but the general opinion prevails that it will reach more than this number. All morning There was a continuation of the horrible sights about the ill-fated Monongah mine. Wagons were hauling bodies and boxed filled with parts of bodies taken from the mines. The demand on the morgue was so great that caskets containing bodies had to be placed in the street, as soon as ready for burial, and great throngs of persons surged in the endeavor to identify the dear. Many heart rendering scenes resulted when women, who have waited all these days came again for another look at the latest recovered bodies. The mine officials say that all but about 50 of the bodies have been identified, but this number does not include the bodies so mutilated that identification was impossible, and which have been buried in the trench for the unidentified, nor does it include the bodies lying in the mines under falls of slate. This afternoon J.H. Wheelwright of the company will lead a body of 80 men who will enter the mines in an effort to go through these falls, but at this time no effort will be made to remove the accumulation of coal and dirt under which it is expected to find other bodies. The afterdamp has been thoroughly removed from the mines and this danger to the workers is abolished.
FOUR HUNDRED WIDOWS, ONE THOUSAND ORPHANS
Bishop Donahue, of Wheeling last night sent the following message to several New York newspapers, in answer to inquiries made from that city as to the extent of the Monongah disaster: “Contributors from New York and other places have asked whether there is any organized effort on behalf of the widows and orphans. I have the honor to be a member of the general relief committee, and will take pleasure in receiving any sum in aid of that fund, and seeing that it reached the right hands. There are approximately four hundred widows and one thousand orphans.”

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