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Boomer Coal and Coke Company
Boomer No. 2 Mine Explosion

Boomer, Fayette County, West Virginia
November 30, 1915
No. Killed - 23

USBM Final Investigation Report  (2.3 Mb)  PDF Format

Successful Rescue

27 miners were rescued from behind a barricade seven hours after an explosion in the Boomer No. 2 mine in Boomer, West Virginia.  Source document  PDF Format

Twenty-seven men constructed a rock barricade after two explosions of gas in No. 2 mine of the Boomer Coal and Coke Company at Boomer, W. Va., on November 30, 1915.  To short circuit any of the afterdamp that might find its way into the entry the men propped open the door at the mouth of the entry, about 1,650 feet from the face of the entry in which the barricade was built.  The air in the enclosed space was good and all the men were saved by a rescue party seven hours later.

Death Toll is Twenty-Three in Boomer Mine Explosion
Raleigh Herald, Beckley, Raleigh County, West Virginia
December 3, 1915

Montgomery, W. Va., -- Nov. 30. -- Fayette County was visited Tuesday by another fatal mine explosion, which occurred in mine No. 2 of the Boomer Coal and Coke Company, of Boomer, located on the north side of the Kanawha River a short distance from Montgomery.  Some 300 men were in the mine at the time of the disaster, which occurred shortly before noon.

The force of the explosion did not extend throughout the mine and consequently all the men escaped death except 23, according to the latest reports.  It may be possible that the list, when the entire mine has been thoroughly explored, may be increased.

The cause of the disaster appears to be a mystery as the mine was inspected and reported upon by Deputy Mine Inspectors Cobb and Calderwood, November 16th and 17th, and passed as in good condition.  However, the general impression is that a pocket of gas was ignited by an open lamp thus causing the explosion.

There were three separate explosions, two of which were not so disastrous.  The first shock occurred at 10 o'clock, the second at 10:30 and the third and last at 11.  Immediately following the news of the disaster, men rushed from all parts of the section to the scene to offer such assistance as could be rendered.  The mines throughout the community were closed Wednesday and employer and employee repaired to Boomer.

The company officials, following a selfish and unfair custom on similar occasions, refused to give out information to the public but repeatedly denied that there was a loss of life for at least 24 hours after the occurrence, in fact until it became generally known from other sources.

The Boomer Coal and Coke Company operate four mines at that point, all of which are drift openings.

The identified dead whose bodies have been recovered to date are:
  • Bob Yancy
  • W. M. Kinney
  • Sam Parkins
  • Frank Rowe
  • A. B. Howard
  • Joe Partlow
  • Chris Farber
  • Mike Bonder
  • John Krouse
  • Chris Goline
  • Dominick Vitrella, age 16
  • Sam Forner
  • George Flevener
  • Lee Galloway
  • Neal Pauley
  • Sam Demarco
  • Frank J. Aboesky
  • Sam Colalo
  • John Sulier
  • Carney Cominesky
  • Joe Hardeson
  • Ed Hall
This is the third fatal mine explosion in Fayette County this year, totaling a death list of 151 men.

The mine disasters in Fayette and Raleigh Counties for the past fifteen years with the number of fatalities of each are given below:
Total Killed — 556

By noting the above table, it will be seen that more than one-half thousand able-bodied men have been taken from our midst through the demon of explosions.  How long will this continue?  Will a cure ever be discovered and properly applied to protect the lives of these men who make their living through this industry?

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