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Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company
Amsterdam No. 2 Mine Explosion

Amsterdam, Jefferson County, Ohio
April 21, 1910
No. Killed - 15

1910 Ohio Inspector of Mines Final Investigation Report  PDF Format
Telegrams and News Articles from the period  (1.1 Mb)  PDF Format

See also: Amsterdam No. 2 Mine Fire, Oct. 29, 1919

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
(news links open in a separate window)

Successful Rescue

Seven bruised and burned men were rescued alive after an undisclosed period from the pit of the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company's mine at Amsterdam where a terrific explosion snuffed out the lives of fifteen other miners. 1

Seven Escape Pit Death
The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, IN
April 23, 1910

Steubenville, Ohio, April 22. -- Seven bruised and burned men were rescued alive today from the pit of the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company's mine at Amsterdam where last night a terrific explosion snuffed out the lives of eighteen other miners.

The cause of the explosion has not been determined by the state mine inspectors and mining experts who are conducting the search of the wrecked workings for the bodies of victims.

The mine had been inspected but two days before the explosion by a deputy inspector, who was still at the hotel in the village when the explosion occurred.  From the condition of the interior it is said the explosion, in point of force, was the greatest ever recorded in Ohio.

Trainmen Flee from Dynamite

People thought an earthquake had occurred.  A train on the Lake Erie, Alliance & Wheeling Railroad was passing the mine and every window in the train was shattered.  The trainmen stopped the train and learning where the explosion occurred, fled from it, as a car of dynamite was attached to the rear of the train.

During the afternoon government experts from the geological laboratory at Pittsburg arrived with oxygen outfits.  They explored the mine, but failed to find any more bodies.  They report that there were many "falls" and that the missing men's bodies may be under these.

E. O. Jones, the night superintendent, was blown over several cars and the gas and flames passed over him.  Doors were knocked down and pit posts hurled in all directions.  Jones, when found, was badly burned and bruised.  All of the other men who were rescued were burned, but not seriously.

Two men, brothers, were found locked in each other s arms.  This gives the rescuers the belief that the men were not killed instantly, but that they were suffocated by the afterdamp.

Six Bodies Rescued This Morning But No Trace of the Other Twelve Have Been Secured

Amsterdam, Ohio, April 22. -- The bodies of six miners were recovered this morning from the Amsterdam mine of the Youghiogheny and Ohio Coal Company, where eighteen men were entrapped last night by an explosion of gas, followed by fire.

The other twelve have not been rescued.

The night shift of twenty-seven men were working in the mine when the explosion occurred.  It was stated that there was gas in the mine and that the men were ordered to take extra precautions.  The belief is that a miner's lamp went out and that contrary to orders, struck a match to re-light it.  The explosion followed and awoke the whole village and a sheet of fire belched from the hillside.

Nine miners, who were working between the explosion and the opening of the mine, were blown to the tipple where they fell unconscious.  Several were badly burned.

Fire prevented eager rescuers from making a descent, but the men formed a fire brigade and fought the blaze for several hours.  Wives and children of the imprisoned miners soon joined the crowd and force was employed to prevent a panic.  The work of rescue has been halted temporarily until oxygen arrives from Pittsburg.

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, PA
April 22, 1910

Pittsburg, Pa., April 22. -- Engineer J. W. Paul, in charge of the United States Geological Survey station here, left about noon today with four oxygen helmets to aid in the rescue of the mine victims at Amsterdam.

Reports of the explosion were not received here until this morning, and because of the inaccessibility of the town of Amsterdam to railroads entering Pittsburg aid cannot leave until noon.

According to local officials of the Youghiogheny and Ohio Company, the death list is not believed to be large, as only a small number are said to have been employed at night.

Two Italians Escape

Edward Jones, the mine boss, John Smith, Jr., and two Italians escaped from the mine following the explosion.

Known dead are:
  • Joe Sanpelre, Italian, single, 23
  • John Smith, Sr., 50
  • James McMaster, 31, Smith's son-in-law
  • Charles Howarth, 45
  • Joe Sanpedro
  • Unidentifed miner
Mine Boss Jones said at noon that as he was making his way from the mine he counted the bodies of eight miners.  All of the other mines near here have been closed and over 2,000 miners are on the scene aiding in the rescue work.

When the fan was temporarily shut down for repairs this morning the grief stricken wives and relatives of the entombed miners were about the mouth of the shaft and several had to be restrained from jumping into the shaft.

The force of the explosion broke the windows in the caboose of a passing freight train.

Note: The CDC/NIOSH list External Link shows the official number killed at 15.  The record in the MSHA Fatality Archive Database External Link indicates the total fatalities at 18.

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